Back into the Snake Pit with Chicago blues guitarist Harvey Mandel

A while back, we gave you this update on the great Chicago blues guitarist Harvey “The Snake” Mandel, who you may recall has played with and alongside such greats as John Mayall, Canned Heat, the Rolling Stones, Howlin’ Wolf, Michael Bloomfield, Muddy Waters, Charlie Musselwhite, Steve Miller, and Buddy Guy during his more than 50 year career, and was more recently a member of the blues supergroup Chicago Blues Reunion with fellow Windy City blues stalwarts Barry Goldberg, Nick Gravenites, and Corky Siegel.

Now, we’re pleased to report that Mandel will be back with a new studio album — his 15th — in November, featuring six new original songs plus two others (“Baby Batter” and “Before Six”) that Mandel previously recorded. Among the former is a swinging “Ode to B.B.” that’s currently available for listening on Spotify and iTunes, and the groove-filled title track “Snake Pit” that’s just as slithering and menacing as its title, in the vein of Jeff Beck, Steve Vai, and Joe Satriani, and that you can hear right here.

We think you’ll agree that Snake Pit (Tompkins Square) sounds like one definitely worth checking out. Here’s a bit more on Mandel, straight from the press materials:

“Harvey Mandel is among the most innovative guitarists to emerge from the Chicago blues scene of the late 1960s. His career began at Twist City and other local hotspots, sharing stages with Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Buddy Guy. He came up in that scene alongside Charlie Musselwhite, Mike Bloomfield, Barry Goldberg and Steve Miller, leading to an invitation from Bill Graham to open for Cream at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium in August 1967.

Mandel was a member of Canned Heat, appearing with them at Woodstock. He played on numerous John Mayall albums, and on the Rolling Stones’ 1975 LP Black and Blue (“Hot Stuff”, “Memory Motel”), having auditioned for Mick Taylor’s job, which ultimately went to Ron Wood.

Known for his “tapping” technique and sinewy, sustain-driven phrasing (thus his nickname, “The Snake”), Mandel’s solo albums such as Cristo Redentor, Baby Batter and Righteous have been sampled and drooled over by guitar geeks, DJ’s, and fans of funky, soulful, otherworldly composition…

Snake Pit marks a spirited return in a career that now spans six decades — all the more intense and poignant given Harvey’s recent battle with cancer.”

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