Tubular Organ

Left: My recent acquisition Right: Echophone graphic from a 1953 Hohner catalogue.

By happenstance I was able to add this beauty to my collection. I think part of my fascination with the Echophone is the link back to Sydney Dickens of Carlton, Melbourne who had an invention of the same name and type back in 1906. See here By Dickens.

You may have been aware I had the horn attachment from a previous purchase and I was on the lookout for the box and harmonica. Interesting, my model (#3810) is in the Key of ‘G’, it was mostly only available in the key of ‘C’ between 1953 to 1965 (or thereabouts). However, I can date this to 1957/58 when the Echophone was advertised in Hohner Catalogues in both ‘C’ and ‘G’. The Echophone had its own branded harmonica (Marine Band style) with anodised covers and a maroon coloured bakelite horn attachment, which did have a tendency to split. I do like the box with its stylised Art Deco graphic. Previously pre-war models (sold from 1921 – 1936), came with a more durable brass horn and was sold in all keys.

Black Harp Down

1925 South Street Ballarat National Mouth Organ Championship – Max Harris Collection Ballaarat Mechanics Institute (edited close up of contestants)

I was always intrigued by this photograph as there appears to be a black (I presume without access to a colour print) enamelled Boomerang De Luxe in several hands. Second and third from the left (in similar lighting) probably provide the best example of each. As far as I was aware there was only ever a silver (nickel) model sold. Perhaps the black enamelled were only available for contestants in the 1925 Championship and used to promote the De Luxe – a new model of that year. It is probably the most sought after Aussie harmonica by collectors – possibly specifically the black one now.

Bit of Shep enamelling

I requested help from my usual experts in the field and none had seen or heard of a black enamelled De Luxe. Several suggested that it may have been a trick of the light. What do you think? Harland Crain thought the guy with the harmonica on his head may have had a few brews! It may have just been adrenalineleast he looks like he had a good time.

Albert’s did produce a black enamelled Boomerang Grand briefly sold in conjunction with the nickel model during 1911.

Another Shep touch up


How about this?

Sometime ago, Pat Missin had informed me that The Boomerang Mouth Organ was trademarked in the United States. I thought this was a wee bit strange.

Then recently, while Pat was on an unrelated search, he found this (see left) in a Pennsylvania newspaper. Landau’ Music House were selling Boomerang mouth organs in the US in 1924 – I imagine for J Albert & Son.

Well I never.

Not the first time Matt Joe Gow has been reviewed by HRR. Sweet Collapse is the latest single from his upcoming new album. With just a touch of Dylan harp, jangly acoustic guitar, sweet piano and lovely three part harmonies, this has the recipe for a chartbuster. Head over to Bandcamp to purchase and download. Steve Lucas & the Rising Tide have a nice little album out now, also over on that good streaming platform mentioned previously, titled Cross That Line. A couple of tunes feature the blues harp of David Morgan including their latest single the radio friendly Bomp-A-Bomp Song. Good friend of HRR, Peter ‘Robbo’ Robertson, is hitting the pig skin on the album. Wayne Gillespie has dropped a ripper gritty tune, Slow Down that boasts the talent of well known harpist Brendan Power – has to be the Kiwi connection.

Good Will Remedy have a new EP (must nearly be classified as an album) titled ‘Same Old Crows’ out now! No harmonica, no problem. A couple of the tunes released as singles have been reviewed previously, but not Open Up Their Eyes which knocked my socks off! Check it out – it has International Hit written all over it. It’s time to kick the hornets nest. Jason Vorher, former bass player for Daryl Braithwaite and one time Little River Band member, has displayed his talent as a singer songwriter on his debut album ‘Living In The Suburbs’. Have to mention the song Streaming Down The Wing for a couple of reasons; 1) is the subject matter, as my son played junior footy in this league and 2) as Steve Williams lets it rip on the ten hole tin can. Foreday Riders need no introduction, nor does Ray Beadle and they have teamed together for a fantastic live release ‘Durn Tootin’. Ron King’s harmonica licks are pretty slick and there for everyone to borrow. Smooth as a single grain whiskey.

Also a few international releases well worthy of mention. The first I heard it on the radio (I didn’t see it on the television) is all the way from Texas. Whiskey Myers initial single John Wayne dropped from their sixth studio album Tornillo (out in July) and has been on the air waves for sometime – it’s an absolute cracker. If you haven’t had the aural pleasure, do yourself the honour. An all time favourite band of mine is the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with drummer Jimmie Fadden, who blows a mean country riff on the harmonica. Their latest album ‘Dirt Does Dylan’ is a must for the vinyl collection. And if you missed the latest album by the evergreen Willie Nelson, do yourself a favour and give it a spin. ‘A Beautiful Time’ has all the ingredients including one that has stood the test of time, Willie with Mickey (Raphael). Just paying their rent every day in the tower of song.

While Benoit is having a quiet year gigging and recording (which means I’m having a quiet year), he has placed Valley (2021) on a well known streaming platform. I’ve put a direct link to the big hit off the album – just click above. Bang it in your harmonica playlists.

Trees tumble down without a reason, time and time again in every season here.

You’re Jokin’

The prices being offered on eBay for your garden variety harmonicas have been somewhat inflated lately. How about a Hohner Echo Vamper (perhaps not quite garden variety) for $710 Australian! You’re Jokin’!! I have one and, if anyone wants to offer somewhere in the vicinity of $700, I’d be more than happy to part with it. The Echo Vamper was the equivalent to the twelve hole Marine Band 364. Marine Bands weren’t available in Europe and Australasia until the 1970’s. The Echo Vamper is less common (but not extremely rare) than the ten hole (strangely named – thought it would have been the other way around) Echo Super Vamper. I’m thunkin’ the Super preceded the twelve hole model by a wee bit and they may have gone the early crow. Couldn’t have a Super Super!

Not too long ago on the same auction platform, a standard Boomerang mouth organ (without box) was initially offered at $800 and, after several reductions, finally landed with a zero dropped from the price.


Sally Ann SHEPPARD (29th January 1940 – 20th April 2022)

I believe for every drop of rain that falls a flower grows

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