WeenieCampbell.com

Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Topic started by: Johnm on January 14, 2016, 12:41:24 PM

Title: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on January 14, 2016, 12:41:24 PM
Hi all,
I realized a while ago that quite often it seems as though harmonica is shown off to best advantage in solo settings.  I thought it might be fun to start a thread where folks could post particular favorite performances of solo harmonica.  I'll start the ball rolling with a couple:

Deford Bailey's "Alcoholic Blues":

https://youtu.be/cONqkwqbX4w

Turner Junior Johnson's "When I Lay My Burden Down":

https://youtu.be/RXcQxHcAwq4

Robert Diggs' "Someday Baby":

https://youtu.be/LSfOIKWuD1c

I think what I especially like about solo harmonica performances is how well you can hear the player's tone.  Anyone else have some favorites?

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: frankie on January 14, 2016, 12:54:40 PM
I've loved this one for a couple of years now, just for the stillness of it:

https://youtu.be/-cF32j4rcG0?t=6m46s

I how that link comes out ok...  should start about 6:46 into the video - a rip of an entire CD.
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on January 14, 2016, 01:01:20 PM
Yes, it's playing fine for me, Frank.  Is that William Grant?  Pretty cool the way you pre-cued it!  That is a beauty.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Mike Billo on January 14, 2016, 01:24:11 PM
DeFord Bailey's "Davidson County Blues" is a Masterpiece
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHqOaTSSj0Y

as is "Wilkes County Blues" by Gwen Foster (my favorite Old-Time Harmonica Player)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znPJA19VR6Y
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Lignite on January 14, 2016, 02:12:30 PM
This one has always been a fave of mine;

https://youtu.be/rCVu0Y_PQk4
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: banjochris on January 15, 2016, 12:18:50 AM
I've always liked this one:

https://youtu.be/Zf_EGTLUzeg
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Prof Scratchy on January 15, 2016, 02:31:54 AM
https://youtu.be/fMrsPMzsFS0

https://youtu.be/zbKiVqY2GN8

https://youtu.be/mewqxMcRLFk

https://youtu.be/GOFbfY-wY1I
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Lastfirstface on January 15, 2016, 07:21:25 AM
https://youtu.be/rx_gDDMOltI
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: oddenda on January 16, 2016, 01:40:50 AM
Some Peg Leg Sam would be appropriate here. A master and a monster (Lignite can vouch for that!).

pbl
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: frankie on January 16, 2016, 06:44:09 AM
Some Peg Leg Sam would be appropriate here.

Sure would...  I would have posted his Reuben, but it's not on Youtube...  Fast Freight Train is a close second - with Baby Tate on guitar!

https://youtu.be/9FLyVGdJgvs
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: iantonionni on January 16, 2016, 07:07:56 AM
Fantastic stuff here, some i've never heard. I particularly liked the Turner Junior Johnson and the Robert Diggs. Thanks John.
Here is a favourite of mine, it shows off Woody Guthrie's fine solo harmonica skills.

https://youtu.be/yemsQUydggQ
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Kadens on January 16, 2016, 07:30:43 AM
Great tunes above, thanks!
My favourite all time harmonica solo recording is this version of La Cucaracha by Walter Horton:
http://www.jeffersonbluesmag.com/images/stories/horton/wh2_lacucaracha.mp3
In the recording Horton says he played that tune as long as he played harmonica.

Other songs from the same session (in a garage) are found in the middle of this page: http://www.jeffersonbluesmag.com/articles/internationell-blues/124-horton-big-walter-120
In the past anyway, this record was not easy to come across.
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Lastfirstface on January 16, 2016, 07:45:45 AM
https://youtu.be/O0FaebRWars
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on January 16, 2016, 12:34:56 PM
I'm glad you enjoyed the Turner Junior Johnson and Robert Diggs tracks, Anthony, and I should mention, they each have several additional tracks up on youtube.  Just search for them by name and you'll find them.  You may find that you prefer some of the other cuts that I didn't post, too.  That's always a bonus!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on January 16, 2016, 02:29:37 PM
Hi all,
Here's one I've always loved--sure like his singing, too.

https://youtu.be/YUXhxh7Agv0

HARMONICA SOLO

Hangin' around and foolin' about sure get you down
Sure get you down, sure get you down
Hangin' around and foolin' about sure get you down
If you hang around and foolin' 'bout too long

Police and the High Sheriff come a-ridin' down
Ridin' down, ridin' down
Police and the High Sheriff's come a-ridin' down
And you know you don't want to go

HARMONICA SOLO

Hangin' around the skin game will sure get you down
Sure get you down, sure get you down
Hangin' around the skin game will sure get you down
If you hang around the skin game too long

Police and the High Sheriff come a-ridin' down
Ridin' down, ridin' down
Police and the High Sheriff's come a-ridin' down
And you know you don't want to go

HARMONICA SOLO

Thirty days in the jailhouse will sure get you down
Sure get you down, sure get you down
Thirty days in the jailhouse will sure get you down
If you stay in the jailhouse too long

God's in the road, rider, come and carry you down
Carry you down, carry you down
God's in the road, rider, come and carry you down
And you know you don't want to go

HARMONICA SOLO X 3

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: lindy on January 16, 2016, 06:34:08 PM
There's a few YouTube videos of Phil Wiggins playing solo, this one was nicely shot in a recording studio.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIf577IaD3Y (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIf577IaD3Y)

Lindy
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: bnemerov on January 16, 2016, 08:11:08 PM
Hi Johnm,
Hadn't heard the Ollis Martin track before....sounds to me like the song is the prototype for Billy Grammer's hit "Gotta Travel On" written by, among others, folksinger Paul Clayton.
Odd how these musical ideas get around, eh?
best,
bruce
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on January 17, 2016, 06:47:38 AM
Hi all,
Here are a couple more, from Palmer McAbee:

https://youtu.be/WpA4gRmAyRc

and from Jaydee Short:

https://youtu.be/8jY-lEeMChM

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on January 17, 2016, 06:56:16 AM
Hi Bruce,
Did Billy Grammar's hit song have a verse that began, "Papa writes to Johnny, but Johnny can't come home"?  I remember hearing that when I was a kid and it was really catchy.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: bnemerov on January 17, 2016, 07:07:30 AM
yep, john, that's the one.
also has verse: "High sheriff and police ridin' after me." Here's Billy G:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9skKTcw6h8

best,
bruce
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Lignite on January 17, 2016, 07:49:55 AM
I think the folk singer Paul Clayton gets credit for writing the hit version of Gotta Travel On.
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Lastfirstface on January 17, 2016, 08:14:07 AM
The "Police and High Sheriff" melody and lyrics show up elsewhere, like the old time tune "Big Ball In Memphis" as recorded by the Georgia Yellow Hammers:

https://youtu.be/DEP2Z8sHqss

Sorry to further divert the thread.
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Lignite on January 17, 2016, 08:21:36 AM
Yeah, this one by the Aiken County String Band also;

https://youtu.be/Wvf9e5RDzzQ
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on January 18, 2016, 02:52:31 PM
Hi all,
Roger Matthews was most often recorded in a duo with guitarist Booker T. Sapps, but here he plays solo.  In the "John Henry" thread, at http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=4256.msg87954#msg87954 , there is a version by Roger Matthews and Booker T. Sapp of that song in which Roger Matthews' rhythm playing behind the instrumental tag at the end of each verse is other-worldly--I've never heard anything like it.

https://youtu.be/uKl-tuKTcw8

George "Bullet" Williams is not doing his own singing here, does anyone know who the singer is?  In the singer's spoken exhortations, he pronounces "touch" "tetch".  Williams does some of the scariest vocalizing with his harp here:

 https://youtu.be/KRO83bzSbh0

Touch me light, pretty mama, this may be your last
Hey, hey, this may be your last
Touch me light, pretty mama, this may be your last (Spoken: Touch 'em, kid, touch 'em!)

Hey, went to the Nation, from there to the territo'
Couldn't find, my good gal, honey, nowhere I go (Spoken: Touch 'em again!)

Woke up this morning, woke the day before
Woke up this morning with the same thing on my mind (Spoken: Touch 'em now!)

I b'lieve to my soul, mama, got to leave your town
I ain't got no pretty mama, talk baby talk to me (Spoken: Touch 'em, boy, touch 'em!)

Ahh, ahh, talk baby talk to me
Ain't got no pretty mama, talk baby talk to me

I went to the Nation, from there to the territo'
I couldn't find my good gal, honey, nowhere I go (Spoken: Touch 'em, touch 'em!)

Honey, I b'lieve to my soul, got to leave your town
Got to leave your town (Spoken: Touch 'em, touch 'em now!)

Goin' to town, mama, talk with the Chief of Police
Tell 'im my good gal done quit me, sure can't see no peace

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: frailer24 on January 20, 2016, 02:30:38 PM
I think it is Wiley Barner on the "Bullet" Williams side.
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Lastfirstface on January 20, 2016, 02:45:55 PM
https://youtu.be/ZguxwH4MqGc
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Lastfirstface on January 22, 2016, 08:30:39 AM
Sorry if I'm flooding the thread a bit, but I just remembered this one and I don't feel like William McCoy gets a lot of attention:

https://youtu.be/G2hESjj_hS4
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on January 22, 2016, 12:50:09 PM
Hi all,
Here is Kyle Wooten, with "Choking Blues".  Apologies if European Weenies can not view the video.

https://youtu.be/kkgg3aIkmP4

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on January 22, 2016, 09:04:49 PM
Hi all,
I know some of you have studied with Mark Graham at Port Townsend or Blues Week.  He really is amazing.

https://youtu.be/eiz7ymyZ3wk

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on February 11, 2016, 06:24:07 AM
Hi all,
Here's one from Hammie Nixon:

https://youtu.be/5fVhySzMDLw



All best,
Johnm

Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Lastfirstface on February 11, 2016, 06:48:13 AM
El Watson solo:

https://youtu.be/DQtHldzTky0

and his duet of "Fox Chase" with Robert Cooksey:

https://youtu.be/FFjlbTvsO7M
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Mike Billo on February 11, 2016, 07:31:18 AM

 Not a Blues performance, but  great solo Harp from Doc Watson

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lmuz1PsqCIU
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on February 11, 2016, 10:10:51 AM
Great find, Mike!  One of the things I was sad to see in Doc's performances as the years went by was the progressive de-emphasis on his harmonica playing in his sets.  Early on, he'd always have some ripping tunes with harmonica on the rack, like "Muskrat".  He was certainly a wonderful guitar player, but I loved to hear him play harmonica, banjo and sing unaccompanied hymns and ballads, too.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Mike Billo on February 11, 2016, 03:26:36 PM

 He was a National Treasure, John. No doubt about it. We may never see the like of him again
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on March 13, 2016, 11:06:32 AM
Hi all,
Here's a neat one from Buster Brown, "I'm Gonna Make You Happy":

https://youtu.be/mycFQE86kco

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: sam on May 30, 2016, 05:56:59 PM
Morning all. great thread, great forum-maybe you've seen my first post, on aboriginal songster Youngie Doug, over in the other musical interests section. I'd like to add Kyle Wooten's Loving Henry, which I don't believe has been reissued (though, I wouldn't be surprised if it's buried somewhere in the JSP catalogue); here it is, thanks to honking duck:
http://www.honkingduck.com/mc/content/loving-henry (http://www.honkingduck.com/mc/content/loving-henry)

once again, some great playing from Wooten, here riffin on "I got mine" (I think I here other tunes in here, but I cannot decide whether I'm hearing a medley here, or some stream of conscious jam - wanderin round, sometimes returning...some high level pedantry on my part, to be sure. Great tune!
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Lastfirstface on May 31, 2016, 05:39:37 AM
Good one, Sam. About two minutes in it sounds like Wooten plays a bit of "Sleeping Lulu" aka "L and N Rag".
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: alyoung on May 31, 2016, 06:17:13 AM
Kyle Wooten recorded six tracks -- all harmonica solos -- at his only session, for OKeh in Atlanta on December 1, 1930 (a Monday for the true pedants among us). I've got four of them on a Juneberry private issue (no longer available, unfortunately), but the only more widely available one I can track down is Choking Blues on Yazoo's Harmonica Masters (CD 2019). Red Pig was on County's vinyl A Day In the Mountains anthology, and I have a feeling that Loving Henry has also been reissued.
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Blind Arthur on May 31, 2016, 09:14:59 AM
Almost "perfect" in my understanding is Noah Lewis? solo performance of "Like I Want To Be":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5_Jl7dp2U8
Hehe, I always hear a full band around it but this is just my head.
It has what I love in music: a simply structure, yet much variety and many nuances in it, something new to be found every time, lovely bent blue notes, a full organ-like sound, and it sounds like a dialogue of a weeping woman and a shouting couple who shout about the all too human things, it?s rocking along slowly and steadily like a slow long train, all very powerful and yet very subtle. i cannot really put this in words - it is what I wish I could play like :)
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Surbhar on September 06, 2016, 04:02:15 PM
Noah Lewis is my favorite harp player hands down! He's pretty good in the singing department too. His phrasing and the full sound that he gets is wonderful. I agree with you, Blind Arthur, certainly someone to aspire to.
Best Regards,
Denise   
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: BlueInGreen on September 14, 2016, 04:40:40 AM
Hey everyone. Just noticed this thread. As a harmonica player, I seek out a lot of these early harmonic solos too. I noticed that alyoung mentioned Red Pig by Kyle Wooten. The only place I know that it is available on the internet is on the Juneberr78s site. Here it is:
http://www.juneberry78s.com/sounds/cy4953-10.mp3

DeFord Bailey's Muscle Shoals Blues is also there:
http://www.juneberry78s.com/sounds/cy4953-05.mp3
I like this version with the cracks and hisses of the 78 better than the version available on youtube.

Here's one I did a long time ago:
http://sclk.co/s4hhk1

My favorite solo piece by Noah Lewis is Devil in the Woodpile:

https://youtu.be/7u7IDFYHyhQ


Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on June 16, 2017, 12:08:20 PM
Hi all,
Here is one I found today by Walter "Tonus Maximus" Horton.

https://youtu.be/MwphQwUNleQ

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: oddenda on June 17, 2017, 08:37:22 PM
Anything by PEG LEG SAM!!

pbl
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on October 23, 2017, 12:59:25 PM
Hi all,
Here is one from Booker T. Sapps.  On his duo pieces with Roger Matthews, whichever of them played the guitar was in Vestapol on every tune of theirs that I've heard guitar on, and it is really expert playing by both of them.  I think they're one of the strongest harmonica/guitar duos I've heard and I think the only time they were recorded was by Alan Lomax in Florida in 1935.

https://youtu.be/rYBtCHkd70Y

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on December 30, 2017, 09:32:34 AM
Hi all,
Here's a nice one from El Watson:  "One Sock Blues":

https://youtu.be/0N_5h0cYcPg

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on March 17, 2018, 05:12:10 PM
Hi all,
Here is a train tune from Eddie Mapp--"Ridin' The Blinds":

https://youtu.be/MBp0A-3FK-s

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: oddenda on March 17, 2018, 07:26:06 PM
Back in the day, I played some of my field recordings for Alan Lomax. On hearing Peg Leg Sam's version of "Fox Chase", he said, "He's even better than Sonny Boy Terry!" Now, Alan did record both Sonny Terry and Sonny Boy Williamson at different times, so that was not faint praise at all! Sam was a master in all formats.

Peter B.
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: btasoundsradio on March 18, 2018, 07:52:48 AM
Oddenda, are those recordings of Peg Leg Sam reissued? I would love to hear them. I've been a Peg Leg Sam fan for years after seeing the doc on Folkstreams. Turned out, my Uncle recorded him playing at a folk fest in the 70's and learned his version of Froggy Went A Courtin' from him.
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: btasoundsradio on March 18, 2018, 08:57:51 AM
Can't forget this one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dO__IuDr-o
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on March 18, 2018, 09:18:27 AM
Hi all,
Here are a couple from Clarence Alexander, a new name to me.  First, "Disability Boogie Woogie":

https://youtu.be/xOvnTeAr7QE

And "Prison Blues":

https://youtu.be/z9nGKrQRMlU

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: oddenda on March 18, 2018, 11:04:07 PM
btasoundsradio -

     "My" album of Peg Leg Sam was reissued on CD some time ago (Trix 3302) with same title and and release # about 1993 by Joe Fields. It has not been redone since then to the best of my knowledge. There was also separate release on Blue Labor from Kent Cooper. Check the usual sources. That's about it, with some anthology appearances and the medicine show albums from Flyright. Send me your e-mail address - we'll see what can be arranged! Sam was a MONSTER entertainer in so many ways. The doco film is apt and most enjoyable, if still incomplete... anything would be!

pbl
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: iantonionni on February 12, 2020, 04:33:10 AM
Here's Joe Filisko playing in Brighton last weekend. The first is a Sonny Terry tribute, the second, not strictly solo harmonica, but as Prof Scratchy has already posted the original by Jaybird Coleman and Ollis Martin, I feel the precedent has already been set. Joe is accompanied by my mate Gareth Tucker on River Of Jordan. https://youtu.be/tJAnkzrr7Mw/ (https://youtu.be/tJAnkzrr7Mw/) https://youtu.be/8P4z0mPtsGM/ (https://youtu.be/8P4z0mPtsGM/)
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on February 19, 2020, 03:41:27 PM
Hi all,
Here is another track, "I Done Lost My Health" by Robert Diggs, who was recorded by George Mitchell.  I love his tone.  Here is the track:

https://youtu.be/YznzQrsrBwE

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Wildeman on February 23, 2020, 08:33:27 AM
This has been a favorite of mine.
https://youtu.be/NymeLwLDK0k
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Johnm on May 02, 2020, 11:10:10 AM
Hi all,
Here is one from Deford Bailey that I don't believe has been posted here previously, "Dixie Flyer Blues".  There's once place in the melody that is reminiscent of Jaybird Coleman's version of "Boll Weevil".

https://youtu.be/AwEzFkjYCIY

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: jostber on May 03, 2020, 11:51:05 AM
Thanks for the updates on Peg Leg Sam, Pete. A truly unique blues artist. Here is the link to the article by Pete on Peg Leg Sam's releases on Trix:

https://peterblowry.com/2015/05/19/3302/

Review of another release at AllAboutJazz:

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/kickin-it-peg-leg-sam-32-records-review-by-ed-kopp.php

Title: Re: Great Solo Harmonica Performances
Post by: Elmore on May 06, 2020, 07:02:06 AM
Someones probably already posted this but here I go!

https://youtu.be/h0eFg12OCHg
SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2020, SimplePortal