“An Offer You Can’t Refuse” is one of the best blues harmonica compilations put together. Walter Horton’s material on this recording is some of the best music I have ever heard in my life. Horton’s control, note choice, and near endless well of ideas give a textbook example of what every harmonica player (and musician) needs to do in order to be a competent musician.
Horton’s treatment of “Easy” is a bit sparser than the one he did with Jimmy Deberry long ago; he takes a more restrained approach, but still lets it loose on certain parts of the song. Absolutely brilliant work.
“Have a Good Time” is a straight ahead exchange with Robert Nighthawk backing (as throughout the record), Horton lays it hard and down-home through his solos showing just how to treat the song. Horton’s virtue is that he leaves a good amount of space to let his notes breathe through his solos, so that they don’t bunch up and sound insignificant.
“Mean Mistreater” is a slow blues in 1st position that is soulful and pretty. This is how all you harp players need to solo over a slow blues, beautifully done; Nighthawk’s backing is simple and dead-on as well. All you SRV clone twits can learn a thing or two from Robert Nighthawk, it ain’t always about the soloing!
“In the Mood” is an upbeat frisky deal that has Horton throwing notes down with authority. Great singing and solid backing with Horton doing some very hard (yet musical) lines make this alone worth the price of the CD.
“West Side Blues” is a steady, high and lonesome blues feel with very tasteful soloing on Horton’s part. Horton plays the melody through much of this song, but makes it sound wonderful.
“Louise” is another steady feeling blues with Horton singing and dominating; beautiful lines, with acoustic harp make this a winner.
“Tin Pan Alley” is a sweet lowdown song, Horton’s soloing is slow and well paced.
“Walter’s Boogie” rounds out the Horton section; uptempo, and seriously well done, Horton lays a lesson in tone and control that is near scary at times. Very well done.
The Butterfield section was taken from a 1963 night club gig with Smokey Smothers and Sam Lay. A nice recording, not Butterfield’s best, but a good sneak preview of what was to come from the illustrious Butterfield. A great recording that’s worth your money. If you are learning to play harmonica, this CD should be in your library; it will do more for you than most instructional books could ever do. (an amazon cutomer)
Paul Butterfield’s 1960 high school yearbook photo
An album released on the Red Lightnin’ label in 1972 consisting of one side of Big Walter Horton and the other side with very early Paul Butterfield (1963) (See: Big Walter Horton). Contains six tracks with Butterfield, Smokey Smothers on guitar, Jerome Arnold on bass, and Sam Lay on drums. This was recorded at Big Johns, the North side Chicago club where the Butterfield Band first played in 1963 — some two years before the material on the first Paul Butterfield Blues Band album, which was released in 1965. The six tracks include two instrumentals, “Got My Mojo Working” and the Butterfield-authored tune “Loaded.” Although this is very early Butterfield, the harp playing is excellent and already in his own unique style. The singing is a little rough and heavy sounding. Butterfield fans will want to find this rare vinyl for musical and historical reasons. (by Michael Erlewine)
Recorded live at the “Big Johns” Club,Wells Street, Chicago, Summer 1963
Big Walter Horton:
Big Walter Horton (vocals, harmonica)
Robert Nighthawk (guitar)
Jerome Arnold (bass)
Paul Butterfield (vocals, harmonica)
Sam Lay (drums)
Smokey Smothers (guitar)
Big Walter Horton:
01. Easy (Horton) 3.16
02. Have A Good Time (Horton) 3.18
03. Mean Mistreater (Carr/Horton) 3.03
04. In The Mood (Horton) 3.07
05. West Side Blues (Horton) 3-08
06. Louise (Morganfield) 4.04
07. Tin Pan Alley (Geddins) 2.52
08. Walters Boogie, This Is It (Horton) 2.45
09. Everythings Gonna Be Alright (Jacobs) 3.40
10. Poor Boy (Horton) 3.53
11. Got My Mojo Working (Morganfield) 3.07
12. Last Night (Jacobs) 4.38
13. Loaded (Butterfield) 2.52
14. One Room Country Shack (Walton) 4.54