"[A]n astonishingly successful makeover [of Cream's 'Sunshine of Your Love']....I think I may already have found my blues harmonica album for 2014!"
--Normen Darwen, Blues in Britain
It’s been a long time in coming!
After a thirty-five year career as a blues performer, including more than two decades with the W. C. Handy Award-nominated duo Satan and Adam, harmonica player Adam Gussow has made his solo debut.Kick and Stomp showcases Gussow in an unexpected but logical setting:a harp-powered one-man blues band.
Taking a cue from his Harlem mentor, Sterling “Mr. Satan” Magee, Gussow does it all, in real time—singing, blowing amplified harp, and stomping out some thump-and-metal grooves.
Kick and Stomp owes its stylistic breadth to Gussow’s background as a New York City-bred funk-blues player who has spent the past decade in the north Mississippi hill country.Ranging from old school blues like “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl,” “Poor Boy,” and “Goin’ Down South,” to Cream’s blues-rock standard, “Sunshine of Your Love,” and their power-trio version of Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads Blues,” all the way to a techno/house remake of Stanley Turrentine’s soul-jazz classic, “Sugar,” Gussow surprises.His original instrumentals mix sanctified Mississippi two-beats, hard bop (Art Blakey), and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s big-beat shuffles.The album concludes with a dazzling solo workout on Scott Joplin’s ragtime standard, “The Entertainer.”
Only a handful of players on the contemporary blues harp scene have developed an immediately recognizable voice on the instrument.Gussow’s sweet edgy tone, upper-octave pyrotechnics, and headlong swing make him one of those few.Kick and Stomp showcases his talents as a modern virtuoso, a player American Harmonica Newsletter praised for exhibiting the sort of "[t]echnical mastery and innovative brilliance that comes along…once in a generation."
To purchase a CD (which I ship to you in real time), please hit the following link. USA residents ONLY. Because of absurdly high postage rates, I no longer ship to Canada, Mexico, UK, Europe, and other international addresses).
Kick and Stomp is also available as a download from Tradebit, in either mp3 or CD-quality WAVs. Liner notes included in the big zip file!
Here's what Roger Gatchet of Living Blues had to say in his review of the album:
“Adam Gussow is best known to many as one half of Satan & Adam, his longtime partnership with one-man band Sterling “Mr. Satan” Magee.The two have been playing together since the mid-1980s….Those fruitful years serving as Mr. Satan’s apprentice have left an indelible mark on Gussow’s playing and this solo—yes, solo—harmonica album.Sonny Boy Williamson’s intimate a capella musings on Keep It To Ourselvesand Keith Dunn’s lesser-known 1998 self-released CD Alone With the Blues notwithstanding, it is extremely rare to find an entire album’s worth of solo blues recordings like this, with no backing band…..
"Gussow does an extraordinary job of maintaining a sense of spontaneity and intrigue in this solo setting….by filling out the sound with daisy-chained amps and a delay pedal, while simultaneously using his feet to beat out rhythmic percussion on a bass drum and tambourine.Gussow’s playing can be both delicate (the beautiful, slow dance Mr. Cantrell, a song he once recorded with Mr. Satan) and furious (the raging lower-register groove of Kick And Stomp), depending on the mood of each song…..
“Gussow’s stirring solo performances breathe new life into familiar tunes like Good Morning Little Schoolgirl and Crossroads Blues.He’s also a surprisingly strong singer, belting out a killer rendition of Sunshine of Your Love…[it’s] fun to hear Cream stripped down and filtered through a humble diatonic harp.Gussow’s mastery of overblows permits a delightful translation of Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer, while the remaining tracks are rooted deep in the blues.Kick And Stomp adds both a unique and captivating new chapter to Gussow’s 35-year professional musical career, and it’s well worth checking out—you’re unlikely to hear anything like it for some time.”
Here's the music video of one cut from the album, "Crossroads Blues," that my producer Bryan W. Ward and I shot in the Mississippi Delta. (Please note: this is the original track, with no overdubs. Just me in the studio--and of course, hamming it up on location, as people do when they make music videos):
Photo courtesy of BRUCE NEWMAN and the OXFORD EAGLE.