Nearly 30 years after playing together with their father, harmonica ace Carey Bell, on the 1990 Dynasty! album, brothers Lurrie, James, Steve, and Tyson Bell are continuing to carry on their dad’s legacy as Lurrie Bell & The Bell Dynasty. Although the Dynasty is but a part-time gig for the brothers, with Lurrie (vocals and guitar) having a successful solo career in addition to being a co-founder (along with harmonica player Billy Branch) of The Sons of Blues, Steve (harmonica) being a current member of blues singer/guitarist John Primer’s band, and Tyson (bass) having recently worked with another true son of the blues in Magic Slim (Morris Holt) offspring Shawn Holt, you’d swear from the tightness of the siblings’ latest recording that these guys have been playing together, well, all of their lives.
Appropriately available on the same Delmark Records label as on which Carey released his debut album (Carey Bell’s Blues Harp) almost 50 years ago and two collaborations with Lurrie in the 1977 Heartaches and Pain (Lurrie’s debut recording) and 2007’s Gettin’ Up, released just weeks before Carey died at age 70, Tribute to Carey Bell features a dozen tracks honoring their father. This includes the band’s take on a number of originals and classics performed by Carey throughout his career, as well as a pair of originals from the band in James’ dragging “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize” — one of three tunes on which James (who also plays drums on the project) handles vocals, along with “What My Momma Told Me” (Junior Wells) and the funky “Break It Up” (Little Walter) — and a shuffling, Billy Branch-penned “Carey Bell Was a Friend of Mine” that features Branch on vocals and trading some nice licks with Steve on harmonica.