Blues Bytes


May 2012

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Gary Primich
Just A Little Bit More .... with Omar Dykes
Old Pal Records

Gary Primich

The late harmonica player Gary Primich honed his craft during the ’70s in Chicago, absorbing the styles of harmonica wizards Sonny Boy Williamson II, Little Walter, and Big Walter Horton. He also played regularly on Maxwell Street, playing with local legends Johnny Littlejohn, Horton, Sunnyland Slim, and John Henry Davis. He moved to Austin in the ’80s, but his style remained rooted in the Windy City. He was also blessed with a strong R&B-flavored vocal style and was able to put it all to good use on eight different releases until his death from a heroin overdose in 2007 at 49.

Primich’s family recently released a CD tribute to the late singer/harmonica player, Just a Little Bit…..with Omar Dykes (Old Pal Records). The double disc collection gathers 23 tracks, 16 from three of Primich’s albums (1994’s Travelin’ Mood, 1995’s Mr. Freeze, and 2006’s Ridin’ the Darkhorse), and seven with Primich and Omar Dykes, from Primich’s stint as sideman in the Howlers. The musicians on the CDs comprise an Austin musical “Dream Team,” including Gary Clark, Jr., Derek O’Brien, Sarah Brown, Wes Starr, George Rains, Nick Connolly, Jay Moehler, Mark Rubin, Billy Horton, Mark Korpi, Dave Biller, and Mark Korpi.

Just a Little Bit More….. offers fans a great look at Primich’s talents. He wrote over half the tunes on the set, including such standouts as “Jenny Brown,” “Sweet Fine Angel,” “School of Hard Knocks,” and “Keep on Talking.” His harp skills are on full display on imaginative instrumentals like his own “Satellite Rock” and “Mr. Freeze,” along with Kurt Weill’s “September Song,” and Duke Ellington’s “Caravan.

The tracks with Primich and Dykes are all excellent, including the slow burning cover of Mercy Dee Walton’s “One Room Country Shack,” a fine pair of Jimmy Reed covers (“Caress Me Baby” and “Down in Mississippi”), and the usual good timers like “Hoo Doo Ball,” “Mail Order Mojo,” and “Dangerous Man.”

Just a Little More….with Omar Dykes is a perfect introduction to Gary Primich, showing not only how good he was, but also how versatile he was, as he moves easily from Chicago to the Delta to Swing to Jazz on these selections. A big tip of the hat to his family for their efforts to keep his music alive. He was yet another bluesman who left the scene far too soon, with plenty left to say.

--- Graham Clarke
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