Hank Mowery review…August 21, 2013…

HANK MOWERY

ACCOUNT TO ME

OLD PAL RECORDS 102

SPEND A LITTLE TIME–ACCOUNT TO ME–PUT THE HAMMER DOWN–IF I KNEW WHAT I KNOW–BANANA OIL–TRICKY GAME–MY HOME–PRAY FOR A CLOUDY DAY–TARGET–THAT’S NO WAY TO GET ALONG

Harp virtuoso Hank Mowery was a great friend to another outstanding harp man, Gary Primich, who, sadly, passed away in 2007.  Hank operated a club in Grand Rapids, MI, and Gary guested at the club any time he was in town, and their friendship flourished right up until Gary’s death.  When Gary’s sister, Darsha, discovered some of Gary’s lyrics that had never been recorded, she contacted Hank to set them to music.  So, for his latest album,, Hank Mowery has just released “Account To Me.” It is not done as a tribute album, but rather as a celebration of the late harpman’s life, and his contributions to the world of contemporary blues.

 

Hank puts his own spin on five of Gary’s tunes, a few of his own, and a couple of choice covers.  Hank also surrounded himself with backing musicians who either knew Gary or realized the scope of this undertaking.  As a result, there are barroom rockers, slow burners, and even a jazzy instrumental.

The set kicks off with one of those blistering stompers, the rocked-up Hank and bassist Patrick Recob original, “Spend A Little Time.”  It features a cool, fuzz-toned Wurlitzer over an acoustic piano that gives this one a double-barreled punch.  A unique guitar riff from Troy Amaro fuels one of Gary’s originals, the tale of a bluesman headin’ home after a too-long stint on the road, “Put The Hammer Down.’  “Banana Oil” is what you’d have if Gary had played with the Mar-Keys, as Hank blows some jazzy swing in this trippy instrumental, over a rhumba-fied beat.  “Tricky Game” is another of Gary’s originals, this one taking a tongue-in-cheek lpok at love, comparing it to, among other things, a course in calculus.  The set closes with Jimmie Stagger’s vocal and National steel on “That’s No Way To Get Along,” with Hank blowing a sweet, country-blues harp in accompaniment.

We had two favorites, too.  The title cut is one of Gary’s also, a Fifties-styled ballad where Hank encourages a lover to be open and honest with him in their relationship, and, to “Account To Me.”  The dark, brooding, “If I Knew What I Know” asks the rhetorical question, “If I had known, could I have perhaps made a difference?” whenever tragedy strikes a friend.  It is characterized by Hank’s mournful harp over a booming, if somewhat verboten, bass drum.

Gary Primich was not only a great player, but an astute student of the harp as well.  And, on “Account To Me,” Hank Mowery has captured the essence of Gary’s style thru his own originals and those that Gary has left behind.   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow

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