Marshall’s Portable Music Machine

Marshall’s Portable Music Machine. Positively, definitely the best you’ve ever seen. Painted violet, ebony and green. Marshall’s Portable Music Machine

Written by Don Mudie and Brian Cadd for Robin Jolly. The fun tune reached the Top Five of the Oz Charts in 1972.

In my rummaging through harmonica advertising I stumbled across this amazing portable music machine offered by Marshall’s of Adelaide. Of course it triggered memories of Robin Jolly’s tune.

Probably not too difficult to be the greatest musical invention of the century when it it’s only three years in. I’m glad the instruction book was supplied as I’m sure I would have required a wee bit of help – then again they can make it more confusing and trial by error can often provide greater gains.

The front part of the Organola consisted of a ten hole diatonic – not sure how it was nearly chromatic. Attached to the main body on either side was another set of reeds that were supplied by air blown from the swivelling mouthpiece also attached to the main frame. Four buttons on either side provide chords and bass to accompany the melody played on the anterior harmonica. It only appeared in the catalogues for a year or two, perhaps suggesting it might not have been all it was cracked up to be.

Just two new tunes for you this month, both from localish artists. Bones and Jones a six piece band from Geelong/ Surfcoast area have a double sided single release and No More Worries (Oh Yeah) has a catchy bluesy/rock harp riff supplied courtesy of Finn Chappell. The song now appears on their album Ginger Gold (Farm Singles) and is available on Bandcamp. The other release is by Benny Allen a local country/folk artist here in the hills. His latest is the aptly titled Rosepetals and Gunpowder that relates a fictional story of Desmond, who shoots his wife, his wife’s lover and a range of law enforcement personnel, racking up a total of ‘lucky 13’, or unlucky in the case of the victims. Tasty harp adds to the dramatic tale. Check it out on all good and bad streaming platforms.

Richard Greene kindly sent me this photo of the Crackajack Ladies Mouth Organ Band. Richard is the son of Thelma Anderson one of three sisters perched somewhere in the Chabaranc – the other two are Kathleen and Lorna.

I pushed Richard for extra information. Here’s his reply, Hi Shep,…..We all know they were in the Band but little else. They have all passed on. Thanks for the photo and the stories. We did not know that they were rather well known and won competitions. My Mother’s Mouth Organ was in a drawer about 1950 but vanished in later years. Regards Richard Greene An article on women and the harp is in production.

Nice to gain a mention on Slingsby Browning’s Miscellany #42 on local radio 3MDR. Recent article The Space Is The Place obviously resonated with the distinguished presenter. He spun a Louis Armstrong tune and two concertos written for the humble instrument. One performed on a ten hole tin can by Howard Levy (he’s made this a cheap chromatic) and the other by Larry Adler. Check it out here (about four minutes in) – SBM #42.

Good friend of HRR Harland Crain had a special guest visit his home to view his huge harmonica collection. You can view here https://youtu.be/2-kfr0MiLXk. You might even see an Organola.

Have a guess which Aussie harp he was drawn to? I asked Harland about this and the visit – here’s a snippet of his email, “He was a very pleasant guest as was his son and daughter, although she was a bit cold, probably just not her “cup of tea”. She did appreciate that I had no problem her bringing in her little pet puppy. They had a large crew of over 10 people, lots of camera gear etc. Glad I had room for all their vehicles. It was a very nice day. He played a few of the Boomerang models.”

When Hohner released their Signature harp in salute of Ozzy Osbourne I was asked by their representatives in Australia KJ Music to provide a review. If you missed it, here tis.

Pretty quiet on the collecting front except for one new addition – Seydel’s 2004 Boomerang De Luxe reissue in the key of ‘A’, number 644. Just had to have one. Only 1,000 of these beauties were produced and only 400 in ‘A’.

A Boomerang De Luxe article is having its finishing touches as I write. Next month’s feature is a historical look at my home town, which is very loosely connected to the humble harp. I hope you’ll join me.

Vale Doug Parkinson (30 October 1946 – 15 March 2021) One of Australia’s Greatest Ever Voices

Sláinte EssDawg 🇮🇪

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One thought on “Marshall’s Portable Music Machine

  1. I love those curious and quirky harmonica inventions they put out there sometimes. Something like a one man band appeals to me a little bit. Look forward to your Boomerang article… fantastic they are.

    Liked by 1 person

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