While I can’t recall the specific year, I remember seeing Gary Primich live at the Blue Cat club in Dallas, Texas sometime in the mid-'90s. I remember being disappointed in the cassette he had for sale. Mainly, that studio recording didn’t come close to capturing the knockout blowing harp I heard that night. Despite the small Monday night crowd, Primich, his harmonica, and his microphone created searing magic I wanted to take home.
Years later, I hear nothing disappointing in the posthumous Just a Little Bit More. This nicely packaged two-disc set is a tribute collection of 24 tracks featuring Primich singing and playing, both center-stage and as a sideman. One can hope this collection will widen appreciation for Primich, who’s left behind quite a musical legacy among fans, critics, and especially fellow musicians.
Appropriately, the now-legendary singer, songwriter, guitarist, and (most famously) harmonica player was born in Chicago on April 20, 1958. He died of a heroine overdose on September 23, 2007 in Austin. He first gained notoriety when, in the late 1980s, he co-founded the Mannish Boys with former Mothers Of Invention drummer Jimmy Carl Black. After two albums with them, his solo work was issued on four labels: Amazing, Flying Fish, Black Top, and Antone’s Records. Over the years, he performed with the likes of Marcia Ball, Ruthie Foster, Mike Morgan and the Crawl, Doyle Bramhall, and Jimmie Vaughan.
Much of the material appearing on the new retrospective is drawn from Primich’s solo albums including Travelin’ Mood (1994), the highly regarded Mr. Freeze (1995), Doghouse Music (2002), and Ridin’ the Darkhorse (2006). The eight other tracks are Primich performing with Omar Kent Dykes and the Howlers (from three of their albums) and a handful of unreleased tracks Dykes had in his archives. Beyond the Howlers, there are lots of Austin-based players appearing on one track or another including Gary Clark, Jr., Derek O’Brien, Mark Korpi, Jay Moehler, Nick Connolly, Mark Rubin and Billy Horton.