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William Clarke - Live in Germany (Cooking Vinyl)
Review by David Atkinson

William Clarke - Live in Germany CD

I’ve always felt that a live album should make you wish you were at the gig. William Clarke’s Live in Germany is just such an album.
Recorded, erm, live in Germany, this excellently produced album has been re-released to mark the 10th anniversary of his premature death.
Clarke was unquestionably a great harp player and his band is a mighty tight unit. There’s enough ambient noise for that essential ‘live’ feel but it’s never intrusive or detracts from the recording.

His technique is a pleasing mix of Chicago and west coast styles, sounding full and rich at all times with some impeccable phrasing – on both diatonic and chromatic harps. He’s supported by the very able John Markowski on guitar, with Wille Brinlee on bass, and Eddie Clarke on drums. It’s not complicated, just a great mix of up-tempo 12-bar grooves and some sophisticated slower numbers – I particularly enjoyed Charles Brown’s I cried All Last Night and Tampa Red’s She’s Dynamite.

The ending of Looking To The Future had me leaping for the rewind button on my stereo – a semi-improvised break with percussive ‘pops’ on the microphone that will strike a chord with Son of Dave fans. It’s a shame there aren’t a few more wow moments like this on the record but the band swings hard and the live energy really comes across. If you’re a fan of harmonica then you’ll definitely enjoy it a lot but there’s plenty to recommend it to all blues fans. Good stuff.

CD available from Amazon (click HERE)

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