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Impassioned playing

Black & White
Black & White
By James Harman Band

Black Top Records: 1995

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This review first appeared in the August 4, 1995 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

This may be perennial SoCal blues favorite James Harman's best recording yet. Certainly, its stripped-down sound is the rawest he's recorded. The songs – all originals – are among his strongest, and his band is as tight as it's ever been.

But it's the nerve-jangling rawness he achieves in his sound that will keep "Black & White" in the CD player for an extended stay. Harman's singing and harmonica playing dip into a deep emotional well that will scorch your soul.

His West coast brand of blues has always combined a deeply swinging approach with the instrumental virtuosity of the Chicago school, but on this album both these strengths are secondary to the overriding passion of the performance.