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Now it's important that you understand that there were three things I never wanted to own when I was a kid: a dog, a cane, and a guitar. In my brain, they each meant blindness and helplessness. Seems like every blind blues singer I'd heard about was playing the guitar - Ray Charles, from Brother Ray: Ray Charles' Own Story

Author Topic: Can you identify the guitar player and Harmonica player in this film?  (Read 2337 times)

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Offline Mr.OMuck

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He appears in the background of the crap shooting scene it looks like he's playing an L1, he may have a harp in a rack.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2011, 03:19:51 PM by Mr.OMuck »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline JohnLeePimp

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Re: Can you identify the guitar player and Harmonica player in this film?
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2011, 05:08:29 PM »
It'd help if he played something, or atleast made a sound - that said, my ineducated guess is that it's in St. Louis so it might be clifford gibson or henry spaulding?
...so blue I shade a part of this town.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Can you identify the guitar player and Harmonica player in this film?
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2011, 05:31:08 PM »
Shot at Gramercy Studios, Astoria, Long Island, June 1929

Yank Rachell would have been 19 at the time, and he played harp and guitar.
Haven't read his bio, this is just a reeeeaaaly uneducated long shot in the dark.

And no, he doesn't play much at all. Could have been Weenie Campbell for all I know.
Maybe find out who played guitar in Fletcher Henderson's band at the time. [later: forget that, it was some other band]
« Last Edit: December 19, 2011, 07:11:12 PM by Rivers »

Offline slideaway

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Re: Can you identify the guitar player and Harmonica player in this film?
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2011, 05:33:57 PM »
interesting! def a harp in rack, a C harp playing first position blues, in a style reminiscent of cane fife! never heard that done that way before?  guitar sounds standard, maybe with capo? theres a few half hearted licks at 5:30- 5:40 cool mystery! :)

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Can you identify the guitar player and Harmonica player in this film?
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2011, 07:19:24 PM »
You can see him at around 1:29 and he's definitely playing.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Can you identify the guitar player and Harmonica player in this film?
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2011, 07:31:31 PM »
Here are 2 screen shots I was able to extract

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My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Rivers

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Re: Can you identify the guitar player and Harmonica player in this film?
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2011, 07:42:15 PM »
Good work ther O'Muck. Could well be Weenie Campbell, from the tantalizingly few descriptions available. Kind of resembles the guy in the site logo, apart from the santa hat. Seriously though he does look like a real country blues player, kind of moody and 'into it'. How on earth did you deduce he's playing an L1?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2011, 07:49:13 PM by Rivers »

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Can you identify the guitar player and Harmonica player in this film?
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2011, 08:17:49 PM »
Looked that way in certain frames. I no longer think so however.
 looks more like a K11 or somesuch
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Online harry

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Re: Can you identify the guitar player and Harmonica player in this film?
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2011, 03:34:29 AM »
I could be totally wrong but when I first saw it Tommy McClennan came to mind. pauze at 1.41 and look at the picture. Not sure if Tommy would travel that far from Yazoo City.



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Offline dj

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Re: Can you identify the guitar player and Harmonica player in this film?
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2011, 04:55:19 AM »
Male blues guitar players with recognizable names who recorded in and around New York City in June of 1929 include Lonnie Johnson, Joe McCoy, Little Hat Jones (in town with Texas Alexander), and the group of Georgia musicians who came up to Long Island City to record for QRS:  Curley Weaver, Eddie Mapp, Guy Lumpkin, and James Moore.  Also, Bobby Leecan and Robert Cooksey seemed to be in the New York City/New Jersey/Philadelphia area a lot just a year before and might still have been around.     

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Can you identify the guitar player and Harmonica player in this film?
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2011, 06:53:04 AM »
Only fleeting glimpses so damn hard to tell. But I thought the guitar player in the band in the second part looked like he might be the same guy (different guitar obviously). Would make some sense to use the same person I suppose. Anyway, identifying the band might help if so. James P. Johnson is the pianist, the singers are the Hall Johnson singers, but the band isn't ID'd is Chris Albertston's book or IMDB. There is a reference online to them the being Fletcher Henderson's band but Rivers seems to have found something that refutes that - no idea myself.

Offline dj

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Re: Can you identify the guitar player and Harmonica player in this film?
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2011, 09:25:53 AM »
America's Film Legacy: The Authoritative Guide to the Landmark Movies in the National Film Registry by Daniel Eagan says:

"Most sources say that the film was shot on a soundstage in Astoria, Queens, but biographer Susan Delson cites a letter from [director Dudley] Murphy to Eugene O'Neill describing 'a state-of-the-art sound studio in a converted stable near Gramercy Park at 129 E. 24th Street' built by RCA."

The only known members of the band are James P. Johnson on piano and Thomas Morris and Joe Smith on cornets.  If someone can find a discography listing those members playing in a band in mid-1929, that would give a strong clue to who the guitar player in the band is.  Knowing how movies work, I think the question we should be asking is probably "does anyone know who's playing the harmonica on the soundtrack to the first scene of St. Louis Blues" - director Murphy probably just told the band's guitar player to sit back there and pretend he was playing what's on the soundtrack. 

Considering his reputation, the few recordings he made, and his presence in the New York City area during filming, I'd love to think that it's Eddie Mapp playing harmonica.  Unfortunately, wishing don't make it so. 

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Can you identify the guitar player and Harmonica player in this film?
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2011, 10:21:22 AM »
This guy does resemble Curley Weaver somewhat so the Eddie Mapp ID may very well hit the nail on the head. Then again he could also be Fred McMullin. Naw scratch that..Its Weaver I'm pretty sure.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 10:30:35 AM by Mr.OMuck »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Bald Melon Jefferson

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Re: Can you identify the guitar player and Harmonica player in this film?
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2011, 10:38:49 AM »
He's black, he's got a guitar, image is not sharp, it's of the era. It's Robert Johnson. It's the LAW!

Case solved. ;)
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Offline Johnm

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Re: Can you identify the guitar player and Harmonica player in this film?
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2011, 11:28:27 AM »
Part of the problem is that the music is such a background capacity that the musical individuality of the player does not come through (I hope).  Based on what is played, it could be almost anybody, including someone who didn't specialize in blues.
All best,
Johnm

 


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