Strange days indeed. Most peculiar Mama.
Had a reply earlier this month to an email I sent in November 2018 from harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite. Nearly fell off my couch! Better late that never. After Memphis Charlie’s second album with Ben Harper I asked him this question via his website contact.
“Just wondering if Charlie could jot down a few thoughts on his partnership with Ben and how it may have changed his harp style/nuances for their collaborations. I want to also look at ‘Movin On’ in particular for my blog down under.”
Here is his response.
“Ben would give me these long solos which were way longer than when I give my self solos with my own band. So, it forced me to be creative for a longer stretch and this was good for me because it gave me time to explore ideas and this was beneficial to my own playing. Also, all Ben’s songs are unique so I had to learn how to fit what I do with his music. I couldn’t just jam along like any old Chicago blues shuffle and this called on me to be more inventive too. So, playing with Ben had a ton of pluses, but just one of them was improving my improvisation abilities. Movin’ On was a big favorite in concert. It was a wonderful time being on the road with Ben and The Relentless Seven.”
Having appreciated Charlie’s reply I asked how he was doing in times like these (nobody told us). He responded promptly with, “We’re doing fine…hunkered down for the long haul. I don’t think this world will ever be the same. Better if we’re lucky.”
Pat Missin has sent Harmonica Riff Raff several ‘Down Under’ trademarks (bloody ripper mate) from the past which includes the Australian Crackshot. Timely as we honour our Diggers. Couldn’t find any advertisements except for cameras. Perhaps just a registration and never in production. A couple of other exciting finds include Macrow’s Magpie, Weiss’ Boshter (previously mentioned), Paling’s The Bushman made by F A Rauner, Koch’s The Kangaroo, Hohner’s 20th Century-Queensland For Ever and one for Seydel’s Boomerang with graphic.
In this unique time of isolation I had the privilege of viewing Satan & Adam on Netflix. If you haven’t done so already do yourself a flavour. If you’re a U2 fan you would have discovered this dynamic duo on their Rattle & Hum album. Freedom For My People features on the vinyl after the band discovered Sterling Magee and Adam Gussow playing on the streets of Harlem. I contacted Adam to say how much I enjoyed the ‘doco’ and to highlight Satan’s distinctive vocal. Adam kindly answered, “Yes, he has a very distinctive rasp. He used to tell me, “I’m not a singer, I’m a STYLIST.” He meant that he didn’t consider himself a true great blues singer in the order of a B. B. King or Junior Parker, but rather somebody who could, as they say, put a song across. But I think he was a hell of a blues singer.”
Expat Dan Tuffy has a wonderful album for release on April 25 Letters of Gold with three tunes having moody harp phrases added by Steve Gilbert. Dan was a founding member of ARIA award winning band Wild Pumpkins At Midnight. Not sure how how you would classify this album (not that there is any need to), but I would certainly throw these three words into the mix-atmospheric, rhythmic groove. Highlights include, Can’t Contain My Feeling, Honey Flow, Sandy Track and the standout with harp, No Sleep Until The Work Is Done. Albums out now on Bandcamp.
Tuneful harmonica as per usual by Mickey Raphael on Willie Nelson’s seventieth studio album, First Rose Of Spring. Love the title track and Willie turns 87 at the end of the month. Happy Birthday- have a chuff for me.
Steve Baker has a new album with his band the LiveWires, The Great Divide. Heavyweight tune for me was the instrumental Steppin High.
Matt Taylor recently released his second album from the Ozindigo series entitled The Prize. Matt says, “When Ozblues ventures into new territory I call the music Ozindigo. The Blues is still there but it’s ceased to be what most people would recognise as blues. Ozindigo grew out of Ozblues as Ozblues grew out of Mother Blues, the music that is the basis of all modern music forms. I have a great love for those who follow Chain and my solo career. There’s no big machine telling you how to think, it was your decision. Stay safe, follow the rules (that’s hard for us) and when it’s over, we’ll party like it’s 2099. Love you all, Matt Taylor”
I’ve posted an excerpt of an interview with Matt promoting past gigs that you can hear here 1970 Prices. Matt had a stint with country rock outfit Western Flyer in the late seventies and there’s an article in the making so stay tuned. I have been broadcasting my radio segment Huff’n’Puff on Peej’s brekky radio show remotely due to Covid 19 and you can hear last months edition by clicking a couple of hours into the link https://tinyurl.com/vkn2h8p. This month’s live on the 28th (it’s always the last Toosday of the month). Also in other late breaking Dawg news Benoit is in the process of a follow up album to his successful 2019 release, Blue Bird. He’s sent me a couple of toons to lay some harp. God bless him.
Cheers & Health
PS: Apologies to all my readers who would have liked to have replied to recent articles, however haven’t had the opportunity to do so, through no fault of their own. I have updated all articles since November of last year when this feature disappeared. Not sure why this was disabled, but I will ensure boxes are ticked from now on!
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