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Corey Harris 

Daily Bread (Rounder)

Corey Harris is a charter member of the small school of young, neotraditional African American bluesmen who emerged during the mid-'90s. Whether a concerted movement or not, this pack of anachronists, which also included Alvin Youngblood Hart and Keb Mo', appeared hell-bent on establishing a blues revival of their own that would reclaim their legacy and reconnect the past with the present.

The phenomenon had its beginnings in the back-to-the-roots albums Taj Mahal cut in the late '60s, and in Harris' case, the similarities don't stop there. With his intertwining of acoustic blues with reggae and African folk and pop, he treads a distinctively pan-African path, quite similar to the blend Taj has explored since the late '70s.

On Daily Bread, Harris, intentionally or not, threatens to cross over into the mainstream with his multicultural brew. Couched in Third World instrumentation, these songs possess a subtle charm and enough substance to seduce both unsuspecting radio programmers and listeners. The title track, for instance, features a congenial, contagious chorus that could garner spins in pop formats. Another gem, "A Nickel and a Nail," is an infectious R&B workup that benefits from Harris' Al Green-like delivery and down-home percussion. With Daily Bread, Harris should garner a pack of new fans without upsetting the old.

More by Duane Verh

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