Catfish Blues

Catfish BluesTerry “Harmonica” Bean was born 1961 in Pontotoc, Mississippi. Other than the Burnsides and Kimbrogh Family he is practically the only artist left who plays the Hill Country Blues. Likewise there are simply a couple of harp players left in Mississippi and he is the special case who plays harp & guitar together. The North of Mississippi got numerous acclaimed names like Wailing Wolf, Bukka White and Huge Joe Williams, now there are simply a couple of left. Terry plays traditional Country Blues with his individual touch! He played in Europe and on immeasurably essential Blues Festivals in the US – like the Chicago Blues Festival.

Terry is still relatively young, but has decades of experience with the blues coming out of Pontotoc, MS. Bean first heard downhome blues at home. His father Eddie Bean, a native of Bruce, sang and played blues guitar and prior to Terry’s birth traveled with an electric blues band.

For many years Eddie Bean, who died in 1985, hosted informal music and gambling gatherings at the family’s house on “Bean Hill” in west Pontotoc. He also worked as a sharecropper, enlisting Terry and other of his fourteen children to pick cotton in the surrounding fields.

Terry began playing guitar and harmonica as a child, and eventually his father, Eddie Bean, the sharecropping host on “Bean Hill”.  Bill Hill was the place party goers and gamblers would congigate. Eddie Bean began featuring his son at gathers on “Bean Hill”. At the end of his tween age of 12 Terry stopped playing music and picked up a baseball and soon became a star pitcher in high school and on American Legion league teams. He even led his high school to the state championship in 1980. He also would pitch five no-hitters in his career as an ambidextrous pitcher.

Due to a motorcycle accident he lost his competitive edge in baseball but continued to play semi-pro in his ‘20s until the faith of a horrific car crash.  In Greenville, MS, 1988, Terry attended the Delta Blues Festival specifically to hear his idol, harmonica great Little Walter, band member Robert Junior Lockwood. That show would change the direction of Terry’s journey back to the blues. From there he would travel to Greenville juke joints on weekends to play his harmonica with the likes of James “T-Model” Ford, Asie Payton and in the Delta with Lonnie Pitchford.

Every weekend for three years Terry traveled to Greenville and its environs to play harmonica with James “T-Model” Ford as well as Asie Payton at various juke joints. He also played across the Delta with artists including Lonnie Pitchford.

He has released six self-produced CDS narrating his band and solo performances since 2002. His latest CD release, “Catfish Blues” on the Wolf label is everything to be expected from Terry and more.

Terry is intentionally committed to “keeping alive” more established styles of blues. “What’s stimulating to me,” he says, “is people hearing the blues played like they used to hear it.” – Terry “Harmonica” Bean

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