This is a debut CD for bluesman Harry Manx. Born on the Isle of Man, home of the Manx cat and host of world-renowned motorcycle racing, Harry spent much of his life in Japan and India. He now resides in Canada and his blues artistry exhibits a nice international feeling.
While in Japan, Manx heard a recording by V.M. Bhatt, master of a 20 string Indian instrument, the Mohan Veena. Traveling to India, he arranged to spend five years studying under Bhatt who had won a Grammy award in 1994 for his album "Meeting By The River" with Ry Cooder.
If a blues CD can be termed "elegant", this is it. Manx has a soft but authoritative voice and is a virtual one-man band reminiscent of Jessie "Lone Cat" Fuller. The artist sings, plays lap-steel, harmonica and the Mohan Veena. The 13-track album features many originals plus some songs by Jimmy Reed and Muddy Waters. A few short pieces are performed instrumentally on the Indian Veena and are based upon eastern ragas with some interesting blues licks. Harry Manx performs traditional blues in a deep delta style with enviable fingering and kicks off the set with a swinging version of Muddy Waters' "Can't Be Satisfied." A lively rendition of Jimmy Reed's "Shame, Shame, Shame" follows Harry's own "Love Ain't No Game."
Manx toured Australia earlier this year and is now part of the Canadian blues festival circuit. He is appearing at the Ottawa Blues Fest this week among a number of stars including Blues Traveler, James Brown, R.L. Burnside and Wilson Pickett. This is a great debut album for a highly innovative performer.