NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
Two – In – One
- A ten-hole harmonica is used, and the four centre holes are drilled right through the back.
- These holes are then closed by means of an improvised valve of the accordion type, which can be made from a small spring paper clip.
- A suitable kazoo is then mounted on the back of the harmonica by means of two small brass screws and nuts, holes for which can be drilled through the second and ninth openings of the harmonica.
- If a plain kazoo is used, it can be made more ornamental by attaching two small aluminium sprinkling caps, such as are sold for moistening clothes. They can be fastened with so-called “cold” or liquid solder.
- There has to be a hole in the back of the kazoo to permit air to escape when the centre holes of the harmonica are being used. This hole is closed with one finger when the kazoo is in use.
- It is also necessary to have a small hole in one end of the kazoo, although this is hidden in the model by one of the aluminium caps.
- The harmonica is played in the usual way. When the kazoo effect is desired the valve is pressed, thus opening the four centre holes. The player can then hum into the kazoo without causing the reeds of the harmonica to vibrate.
No love lost between Albert’s & Allan’s back in the day with regard to the advertising of their respective Mouth Organ brands. In this 1923 advertisement in The Bulletin (19th April) Albert’s had no problem in using a sailor and Jack reference for their Large and Miniature Boomerang Mouth Organ. Not sure how Crackajack and his mouth organs felt about this blatant use of their branding.
Matt Joe Gow – Between Tonight & Tomorrow
A high class release just dropped by the amiable Matt Joe Gow is ‘Between Tonight & Tomorrow’, an album he’s dedicated to his favourite person his Mum, Maria, who recently passed. A delightful, stripped back production shines a light on Matt’s authenticity, and oh the pleasure of listening on vinyl. His songwriting goes from strength to strength with poetic lyrics delving deep into the human psyche. I cannot find praise high enough to provide justice for this masterpiece. Song after song could have been lifted for the first single. Do yourself a service and head over to Bandcamp to purchase Between Tonight & Tomorrow. Matt told HRR “Heaps of harp on new album, mainly straight rack played harp like on Sweet Collapse, there is also harp on Like The Rains, Just This One, We Are Born, Go Ahead Celebrate – so it’s a harp album!!!” And let’s not forget track #4 titled Intro. Just saying.
Also gotta say Matt’s Dylanesque harp really adds serious seasoning to each tune. He’s gone back to first position playing after blowing a fair whack of cross harp (second position) on his previous album. Matt added, “my first albums were more straight harp, like Flowers In Your Hair on Seven Years, or Come What May off my first album The Messenger. But in the Break Rattle And Roll album I was trying to really mix the bluesier elements in with the country – which is true Americana haha.” For those playing at home Matt uses the Lee Oskar brand of harps.
Daniel Champagne – Sooki Lounge Belgrave
My youngest witnessed the genius of Daniel Champagne’s guitar skills and I’ve engaged Cailey’s journalistic skills to provide an insight into the gig. I reckon I may have been put to shame.
On a slightly chilly night late February, we headed to the Sooki Lounge in Belgrave. In occupancy we found a comfortably sized audience (not bare but not crowded either) ready to experience the technical guitar skills and hypnotic vocals of Daniel Champagne.
Daniel displayed his incredible storytelling skills in songs such as: Shimmer Through the Windscreen, which he described as “sort of a love note” to travelling around remote parts of Australia; Back to Nova Scotia is about the story of a Canadian couple he met at an airport bar, became good friends with, lived with in their basement for six months and performed at the wedding of; and Supernova which he didn’t give any defining information on but it was just a great song.
One of the highlights of the night was his performance of the song The Pursuit. It was written for his old guitar teacher back in NSW and is an instrumental, with only the guitar. What made this song so memorable and incredible to watch is the sheer skill Daniel displayed in creating and performing this song. He played on the neck of the guitar, made sounds by hitting and scratching certain parts and just showed such knowledge and creativity by playing this instrument so unconventionality. It was enchanting to watch him play and you could not take your eyes off him for a moment. An added bonus is you can purchase, as part of his ‘merch’, a pretty sweet bracelet crafted from his numerous broken guitar strings.
Cailey also witnessed the amazing talents of Florence + The Machine this month, however it didn’t quite meet the criteria for a review here and I’m sure their concerts would have received considerable coverage elsewhere.
The Humbuckin’ Pickups
It was the first Friday of the month and that means Selby Folk Club was back in action. Pam and I were keen to see the main attraction The Humbuckin’ Pickups. We winded our way along the mountain just a short twenty minute drive on a golden autumn evening. Last month, in summer we were rugged up, this time all I needed was a tee – go figure. They set the ball rolling with their single and title track off the new album Just Like Winter. If mainstream radio could get out of playing golden oldies this would race up the charts. It’s so good, I know some of the lyrics and could sing along.
Not too long into the set they introduced a very different, but just as impressive haunting, atmospheric duology – it sent chills up my spine with their clever use of instruments contributing to the vibe of the tragedy. Vinny wrote The Town Below the prequel to Ewan’s tune Bishop’s Bend quite a few years later – truly remarkable songwriting by them both. Trev revealed his songwriting prowess with an old fashioned country town love tune Dance Up A Storm, which was a cracker – just waiting on you now Maxine. It didn’t end there with more of the album revealed often highlighting sweet four part harmonies.
I spoke to Ewan after the gig and suggested to him that the only thing missing was harmonica (seriously it wasn’t required). Ewan did inform me, however that there was harp on their first album ‘Skullduggery’. Ed Sheeran was playing that night in Melbourne, Eric Bibb as well, and Ross Wilson (Mr. Eagle Rock) was performing not far north west of Selby, but we wouldn’t have wished to be anywhere else on this fading golden autumn evening.
Special edition of Huff’n’Puff on Peej’s ‘Imaginary Friends Show’ on the last Tuesday of February. You can playback off the Home Page of 3MDR by scrolling down to the Special Episodes section. Two veterans (not legends – “they’re dead” Steve reckons) of the Aussie Music Industry, Gary Young (Daddy Cool & Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons) and Steve Williams (John Farnham Band) two members of the newly formed trio GAS played three tunes live off their latest CD ‘I’ve Got A Secret’.
They opened with the superb bluesy Shack Up Inn, eventually we got around for another, the very country melodic love tune The Only One and finished with the poignant upbeat I Never Thought. Plenty of harmonica, harmony and husky voices. In between we chatted about their journey’s and their connection through the formation of the Rock Doctors back in the early eighties. A hearty Brekky at the local township cafe concluded a most excellent morning’s proceedings.
Did we cover some ground (Sorry Slingsby). Thanks Dave for your awesome sound engineering (don’t know how you managed to be up so early when the sparrow does its morning constitutional).
Just an update on my recent single Locomotive Weave. If you listened to the most recent Huff’n’Puff episode regular listener Craig from Narre Warren had texted the studio to say how he much he was enjoying his copy of the tune. I outlined the airplay we had received nationally when Peej suggested, I presumed jokingly, that it was probably worldwide.
Well blow me down with a harmonica, he was spot on! My little harmonica instrumental received a spin on The Rocking Magpie program on Novaradio Newcastle, UK. Cheers Rocking Magpie! You can hear here (you may need to scroll up – for some reason it goes to the bottom of the page).
This month’s feature on Les Benoit was HRR’s 200th post. Raise the willow.
Next months feature will coincide with ANZAC day and we’ll have another Pictorial post (#2) for your visual pleasure.
Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day ☘️. Especially to all my long lost relo’s from Killough.
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