I have been listening to Little Walter for that ‘no slide’ approach to playing in D or Eb. Mainly because my band were doing certain songs. Also other players in that genre, like George Smith (who influenced Clarke, Piazza and others), Jr Wells, Carey Bell Smith, and I suppose his protégés, played chromatic in keys beyond D/Eb (assuming harp in C, which is frequently not the case especially with Clarke, Pizza, Gruenling) or positions other than 3rd if you like.
Well, you know, you have to pick the songs. They’re not exclusively chromatic players by any means. Jr Wells didn’t play too many on chromatic, nor Little Walter really. But I like the stuff Jr did. Carey Bell in particular I think was great on his chromatic numbers. There is quite a bit of stuff from Carey Bell. Just thinking about recordings which feature a C Chromatic: On the Lefty Dizz album, ain’t it nice to be loved, Carey plays chromatic on Look on Yonders Wall On the Big Walter “with Carey Bell” album, Carey plays Chrom on the track Have Mercy In his debut record “Carey Bell’s Blues Harp, he plays on Blue Monday At Kansas City Red’s, come on over here, sad dreams, and Rocking with A Chromatic. All those numbers are in Eb, and Carey plays a C harp with the button held in. On the Deep Down album, he plays Jawbreaker and Must I Holler in D or D minor, on a C chromatic On Dynasty, he plays The Gladys Shuffle, in Eb with the Button held in On Good Luck Man, he played Hard Working Woman and Double Cross Harp-master: second hand man, I’m Ready Harpslinger: 85%, Its so easy to love you Mellow Down Easy: that spot right there, so easy to love you Second Nature: heartaches and pain, do you hear?
Big Al Blake plays chromatic onnthe Hollywood fats Band album Rock this House volume 1, on Prettiest Little thing
Billy Branch Chicago’s young Blues generation; I need you so bad Satisfy me: crazy mixed up world
Norton Buffalo King of the Highway: Hoodoo Roux, shuffalo (in G), she’s driving me crazy (also in G ie second position)
Mojo Buford Champagne & Reefer: Don’t go no further State ofvthd Harp: mo’s stroll, jealous of my baby, come home baby
William Clarke Blowing like hell: greasy gravy The hard way: last Monday morning Serious intentions: the work song Tip of the top: tribute to george smith, chromatic jump
James Cotton 100% Cotton: burner The blues never die: I’m Ready High compression: 23 hours too long
Paul DeLay Burnin’: Paul train Delay does Chicago: beautiful bones, come on home, el train, wait Ocean of tears: if she is Teasin’: my eyes keep me in trouble, hold your hand, alrighty Nice & strong: nice & strong
There are lots more by delay
Also check out Steve Guyger, Mark Hummel, Dennis Gruenling
Some of Little Walter’s chromatic Numbers: Crazy for my baby, teenage beat, crazy mixed up world, blue and lonesome, lights out, Fast Large One, up the line
And Little Walter behind Muddy Waters played I just want to make love to you, I’m Ready, I don’t know why (Eb), Don’t go no further (Eb), diamonds at your feet (Eb)
Rod Piazza has recorded a lot on chromatic
Kim Wilson has recorded quite often on chromatic. Usually only one or 2 per album though.
Junior Wells recorded Slow Slow, calling all blues, and ten years ago. Ten years ago is on the “drinking tnt n smoking dynamite” album
George smith has recorded a lot. Not all of it is in D
Jerry Portnoy has recorded a couple on C chromatic, as did Gary Primich.
Jerry did 3rd degree on Clapton’s album From the Cradle, and Poison Kisses on his own Home Run Hitter album Mitch Kashmar has also done some good work on the Chrom
Ken, I’ve got a cheat sheet. Also, be a little bit wary of the info especially around Paul deLay, because some errors have been found in this work and there could be more waiting to be discovered. It seems mostly correct however.
If you have excel, and know how to use it, you’re welcome to download a copy of my spreadsheet using the link below. I have fun with this toy sometimes.