The debut recording of 33-year-old Hart
is extraordinarily simple and simply extraordinary. Except for three cuts on which he's joined by Taj Mahal
, Big Mama's Door
is just Hart
on acoustic guitar and vocals, and he's not doing anything fancy -- just playing prewar-style blues, mostly in a percussive Delta manner, recorded live to two-track. Yet he succeeds so well in blending technique and feeling, structure and spontaneity, tradition and freshness that he produces a minor gem of a blues record, evocative of the blues masters of the 1920s and '30s. He covers Leadbelly
, Blind Willie McTell
, Charley Patton
, and the Mississippi Sheiks and does originals that replicate older blues idioms, not just in the notes but in the nuances, and in the personal commitment he brings to the material.