Sugar Harp – Sugar Is My Name
Music Maker Foundation – 2022
10 tracks; 43 minutes
Charles ‘Sugar Harp’ Burroughs is a veteran performer in his native Alabama but this is the first time he has been recorded, so all credit to the Music Maker Foundation for making it happen. Sugar offers us ten tracks all credited as original, although several do follow familiar blues themes. Nevertheless, the album is well recorded and thoroughly entertaining. Sugar is, of course, on harp and vocals, accompanied by Microwave Dave (Gallaher) on guitar, Dan Hector on organ, T-bone (Terrence Dupree) on bass and Ardie Dean on drums.
Opening track “Sugar Is My Name” sets out Sugar’s credentials as he tells us all about himself, backed by an organ wash and crisp guitar lines, even the rhythm section getting a short solo opportunity though Sugar’s harp is the main featured instrument. Sugar has the reputation of doing some songs with amusing double meanings, so we can be sure that his “Special Recipe” is not really culinary! Indeed, he wants “to cook all night with you, because your stove is always hot”! However, as is often the case with these sort of blues songs, while the guy is off seeking thrills, his own home may be left unguarded, so Sugar asks “How Come My Dog Don’t Bark” when his friend comes over, clearly the suspicion being that the dog knows the friend all too well! Played to a slow rhythm and minimal accompaniment, Sugar’s harp work stands out on this cut before he reuses the theme of BB King’s “Don’t Answer The Door” under the title “I Don’t Want A Soul Hangin’ Round”, appropriately featuring Dave’s nicely relaxed guitar stylings. A lively rumba rhythm underpins the salacious “Lemon Squeezin’ Fool” before the quieter (and more serious) “May Your Soul Make It To Heaven”, the churchy organ giving a gospel feel to the tune: “May your soul rise to heaven before the Devil knows you’re gone, that’s my wish for you and me before we go home”.
“My Truck My Dog My Wife” is a tale of woe played to a riff that recalls “Lonely Avenue” and Sugar continues in laid-back vein on “Leave Me The Same Way You Came”, opening the tune with some Junior Wells-inspired harp work before he warns his girl that if she ever leaves him she will have to do so empty-handed. “Mojo Hand” has some spooky sounding guitar work and familiar lyrics about the magic spell the girl can weave, Sugar’s vocals given a slight echo to add to the swampy feel of the track. The album closes with “Murder Murder Murder”, an ominous title though it applies to Sugar’s deteriorating relationship with a shapely girl, from whom he needs rescuing. It’s another slower tune, again well played and sung.
Sugar Harp shows here that he is a fine harp player and singer and would, one suspects, put on a very entertaining live show. It is good that Music Maker has been able to put his talents on display for a wider audience.
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