If you consider yourself a blues fan and can't understand why you've never heard of George "Harmonica" Smith, don't be too hard on yourself. Unfortunately, you're not alone.
Man, this is blues with a feeling so thick you can use it for gravy. No disrespect to the legions of Stevie Ray Vaughn fans, but if that's the style of blues you're looking for then this may be a bit much to handle. Stevie Ray was one of many branches, whereas George Smith cuts closer to the root.
Smith was born in Helena, Arkansas in 1924, but grew up in Cairo, Illinois. His mother taught him to play the harmonica before he embarked on a life of hoboing and following the blues. Smith played with the likes of Otis Rush and Muddy Waters during the 1950s and some of the '60s. Later, he teamed up with Rod Piazza to form Bacon Fat, which toured the West Coast and Europe. Smith recorded several discs with Bacon Fat, as well as with other projects.
What will throw many fans of the more modern blues style is Smith's starkly deceptive simplicity. These blues can only be played by someone who has carried them around long before he even knew there was a name for what he was carrying.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at [email protected].
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.