Carey Bell Harrington
Born November 14, 1936 in Macon, Mississippi
Carey is the last surviving musician recorded on the "And This Is Maxwell Street" tapes. He is an excellent harp-blower and a fine vocalist. He continues to record and perform; he seems to get better with age.
In 1949, he began working professionally as a harmonica player with his godfather, pianist Lovie Lee.
He moved to Chicago in 1956 with Lee. He took harp lessons from Little Walter and Big Walter Horton. David "Honeyboy" Edwards taught Carey how to play the guitar. However, his main instrument thoughout most of the 1960s was the bass guitar. Carey plays bass on a number of the songs on the tapes.
The "And This Is Maxwell Street" recordings, made in 1964, are Carey Bell's earliest known performances captured on tape.
Carey's career began to solidify with his debut album for Delmark, "Carey Bell's Blues Harp" in 1969. In 1972 he appeared on Big Walter Horton's Alligator album, "Big Walter Horton with Carey Bell," which put him in the top rank of Chicago's harp players. He performed and recorded with Muddy Waters. He toured extensively in the 1970s and 1980s with Willie Dixon's Chicago All-Stars and his own Carey Bell Blues Band. In 1990, he recorded a widely acclaimed super-session album for Alligator, "Harp Attack!" with Chicago harmonica greats James Cotton, Junior Wells, and Billy Branch. His 1995 Alligator album, "Deep Down" is among his best performances to date, both musically and vocally.
His newest release, and the one of which Carey himself is most proud, is "Good Luck Man" on Alligator. The disc recently won a W. C. Handy Award. We join blues fans around the world in congratulating Carey and his band.
© 1997, 1998 Allan Murphy, Colin Talcroft