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Mandel performing in 1977
March 11, 1945 |
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Origin||Morton Grove, Illinois, U.S.|
|Genres||Rock, blues, blues rock|
|Labels||Epic, Philips, Bellaphon, Janus, Repertoire, BGO, Ovation, Western Front, Clarity, Lightyear, Orchard, Electric Snake, Wide Hive|
|Associated acts||Pure Food and Drug Act, Canned Heat, Rolling Stones, John Mayall, Charlie Musselwhite|
Harvey Mandel (born March 11, 1945, in Detroit, Michigan, United States) is an American guitarist known for his innovative approach to electric guitar playing. A professional at twenty, he played with Charlie Musselwhite, Canned Heat, the Rolling Stones, and John Mayall before starting a solo career. Mandel is one of the first rock guitarists to use two-handed fretboard tapping.
His first record was the album Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite's Southside Band in 1966 with Charlie Musselwhite. Described in Legends of Rock Guitar (1997) as a "legendary" album, it was influential in bridging the gap between blues and rock and roll, with Mandel's "relentless fuzztone, feedback-edged solos, and unusual syncopated phrasing." He relocated to the San Francisco Bay area, performing often at The Matrix, a club where local favorites like Jerry Garcia or Elvin Bishop would sit in and jam. He then met the pioneering San Francisco disc jockey and producer Abe "Voco" Kesh (Abe Keshishian), who signed Mandel to Philips Records and produced his first solo album, Cristo Redentor, in 1968. Mandel recorded with Barry Goldberg on a bootleg from Cherry Records and recorded with Graham Bond. He cut two more solo LPs for Philips, Righteous (1969) and Games Guitars Play (1970), followed by four more solo albums for the independent record label Janus in the early 1970s, which included Baby Batter.
On the night that Henry Vestine quit Canned Heat, Mandel was in the band's dressing room at the Fillmore West. Mike Bloomfield joined them for the first set, and Mandel came in for the second set. His third performance with the band was the Woodstock Festival in 1969. During this period, with Canned Heat bandmates Larry Taylor and Fito de la Parra, Mandel contributed to the 'Music from Free Creek' super session project. Mandel stayed with Canned Heat for a year, touring and recording material which appeared on three albums. "Let's Work Together", a song by Wilbert Harrison which was included in the album Future Blues became an international hit. He is also on the Live in Europe album prior to the death of Alan Wilson.
With Canned Heat bassist Larry Taylor, Mandel joined John Mayall's band for the next two years. He is heard playing on the two albums from that period USA Union and Back to the Roots. In 1972, he teamed up with Don "Sugarcane" Harris, Randy Resnick on guitar, Victor Conte on bass, and Paul Lagos on drums to form the band Pure Food and Drug Act, which released one album, Choice Cuts.
When Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor left the band, Mandel was auditioned as his replacement. He recorded two tracks with the Stones for their 1976 album Black and Blue: "Hot Stuff" and "Memory Motel". During the 1970s Mandel released the albums Baby Batter, The Snake, Feel the Sound of Harvey Mandel and Shangrenade, in the latter employing the technique of two-handed tapping. He also released an instructional video, Harvey Mandel: Blues Guitar & Beyond.
Mandel acted in the film Chalk, directed by Rob Nilsson.
In 2009, Mandel and Larry Taylor reunited with Fito de la Parra and the rest of the current Canned Heat lineup to perform certain shows on the Canned Heat tour. Taylor, Mandel and de la Parra had all been part of the 1969 Woodstock Festival lineup. Mandel rejoined Canned Heat permanently in 2010.
Harvey Mandel and the Snake Crew was released in 2006, and was produced by Mandel and Michael Borbridge. Notable guest performers included Elvin Bishop, Norton Buffalo, Marcy Levy, and Nick Gravenites, plus Freddie Roulette, Pete Sears, Peter Albin, Mic Gillette, Barry Goldberg and Howard Wales. Live at Biscuits & Blues followed in 2009.
Also in that year, Harvey collaborated with renowned herbalist Ron Teeguarden on an album titled 'Dragons at Play'. This CD consists of 9 tracks, and is available exclusively through Ron's Dragon Herbs website.
In 2015, Cleopatra Records issued a 6-disc retrospective of Harvey's career featuring the fist 5 of Harvey's solo albums and a 6th disc containing a live performance from the Matrix Club in San Francisco, on December 24, 1968. The performance included Jerry Garcia, and Elvin Bishop.
In 2016, Harvey and friends entered the recording studios at Fantasy Records, Berkeley, for two days of live studio recording which resulted in the eight self-composed tracks which make up the album 'Snake Pit'.
In 2017, Harvey did not show any signs of let-up when he released the 10 track CD titled 'Snake Attack'. According to Harvey, "I wrote all the songs,performed all the instruments and mixed and mastered all the songs myself. Working in my own home studio allowed me to do all sorts of great guitar overdubs that I'd never have been able to do in a regular studio."
Starting in 2013, Harvey began undergoing what was to become dozens of operations for cancer and is succeeding in his fight to resist the disease. A fund has been started by his sister Rose at helpharveymandel.com where you can help Harvey pay his medical expenses.
His guitar work on the legendary Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite's South Side Band (1966) rivaled the playing of both Mike Bloomfield and Eric Clapton and brought blues and rock and roll another step closer to one another with his relentless fuzz tone, feedback-edged solos, and unusual syncopated phrasing.