They Call Me The Professor
Professor Harp (Hugh Holmes)
The Undaunted Professor Harp
“They Call Me The Professor”, Hugh Holmes’ debut CD release, has been a long time coming. Born in Boston in 1951. Holmes has refined and defined his musical talents over the past 35 years. His main influences on harmonica were Little Walter, Big Walter and George Harmonica Smith while Magic Sam and Muddy Waters shape his vocal qualities. Sharing the stage with Luther Guitar Johnson, Muddy Waters and Soloman Burke is the base for his stage performance.
The ten tracks, on this recording, showcase Professor Harp’s harmonica, vocal and song writing skills in a strong way. The three instrumental tracks are all of different styles and are true examples of his awesome harmonica talent. “Texago At Doyle’s” is a full blown Little Walter electric harp type tune featuring Holmes’ long solos. We become aware that the Professor has paid his dues and really blows the blues. The guitar work from both Tom Ferraro and John Packer keep things moving as Mark Teixeir takes us down the road on the drums. This is one standout tune on this CD. “Eine Fur Herr Schmidt” brings the Professor’s chromatic harp skills to the forefront. This track is dedicated Harmonica Smith and is a great example of how chromatic harp is to be played. Marty supports Holmes on guitar as Mike Labelle carries the drum line.
The Undaunted Professor Harp is truly not discouraged or dismayed as he tells his life story with “Fighting The Battle”. After all his struggles, coming up to the present, he has overcome the obstacles in his path. This is a well written tune that hits hard upon the social issues present in our society. Holmes’ vocals standout clear and are very emotional on this song. Keith Munslow lends some strong keyboard to the lyrics which is a big plus here. This could be another best track on the CD.
“They Call Me The Professor” is a powerful statement of Professor Harp’s ability to play harmonica and be a true blues artist. The tough road that he walked upon seems to have been worth it. The benefit of the journey culminated in the release of this outstanding blues recording featuring tem tracks of blues pleasure. This is really a treat for all harmonica fans.
Reviewed by Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis