To complete the set, amid eight Manu originals, is Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Mister Banker” written by Ronnie Van Zandt and Gary Rossington. It is a nice balance of a very well put together album that will please any lover of the blues.
Manu can also write a mean tune and “Charley Patton’s Ghost” is right up there with the best on this album. I dream of being able to play the slide and if anything is guaranteed to stop me in my tracks it is this seductive sound. Manu has it on tap.
His other songs include a heartfelt “Old River” delivered with that big heart of the Mississippi delta. “Daddy’s 57 Slide” follows nicely and is awash with more classy guitar work. “No Bluesman” picks up the pace with a footstomping railroad blues number.
“Farka”, dedicated to the late Ali Farka Toure, but in French, is a delight. “Cassel City Blues”, Cassel being the town in Northern France that The Harpsliders come from, even opens with the line ‘I woke up this morning’. The slow sleazy blues of “Computer Crime”, and “La Couleur De Ma Biere”, also sung in French, both work well.
Meanwhile Papy Washboard’s fine blues workout “Rainbow” ends the album. It is another trip down to the land of the jug band.
I know that I will be seeing a lot of these guys in the blues festivals of northern France (Cassel March 7-14 for starters). If you can’t join me, then you might want to grab a copy of the album. It will warm your soul, confirm the music's timelessness, and convince you never to buy a new guitar.
The Harpsliders can be seen and heard on their MySpace page.