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1925

19th September, 2019

Hi there Riff Raffers,

Thought you may be interested in having a gander at the Mouth Organs sold by Albert & Son in Western Australia in 1925. No connection with J Albert & Son of Sydney. Do you have any of these? Maybe the short lived Baby Boomerangs? How short lived they were I’m not too sure as they were given away free with different items in 1934-a toy that fired a boomerang and a book titled 400 Ways To Get Rich were examples advertised in newspapers of the day. I have the more common Tiny. Never seen a Koala of the mouth harp kind-this would be a find. Interesting to see the Boomerang Grand sold with replacement reeds. I always wondered about the interchangeable parts branding. Hohner’s Blow With Ease has to be one of the worst monikers! Probably more appropriate for tissues. Mr Henry Bernard Albert proprietor of the Perth store was born in Wuerzburg, Bavaria in 1870 to a book selling family. As a young man he migrated to Victoria, Australia to seek his fortune mining gold. Not sure if he found any nuggets, but he found a bride (Eleanor de Fides) and they crossed the Nullarbor to settle in Western Australia. In 1908 he established a book selling and music store in Perth originally at the Central Arcade before moving to the premises in Murray street. Henry had one son (Norman) and three daughters (Mrs L E Pearce, Thelma & Melba).

Ch SD

PS: A couple of recent changes and additions have been made to the Aussie Models-Timeline.

Rebel’s Yell

6th September, 2019

G’Day Riff Raffers,

The year was 1970 when Rebel, a little known Melbourne record label released two highly significant singles in Australian music history, both featuring the mouth harp of a young Matt Taylor. Rebel was owned by Peter Goodman (a former member of the band The Town Criers) and they would press eleven singles and one long play in a short two year span.

The labels fourth single was by Meating, ‘Bad Luck Feeling/Back Home’ (DG-270/04) a collaboration between old Brisbane mates Greg Sleepy Lawrie and Matt Taylor. Greg had recently formed Carson County Band with Ian Fingers Ferguson and included Tony Lunt on drums and John Capek on keyboards. Matt at this time was with the short lived, but popular ‘prog’ rock band Genesis.

Sleepy had some ideas for songs and met up with Matt to flesh them out. This would be Matt’s second record. His first in 1968 was with Bay City Union with covers on the Festival label of Mike Nesmith’s tune ‘Mary Mary’ (recorded by Paul Butterfield) and ‘Mo’reen’ a Paul Revere and the Raiders tune. Sleepy and Matt’s single involved members of both their bands-Yuk Harrison (bass), Laurie Pryor (drums) from Genesis and John Capek (keyboards) from Carson County Band. The vinyl received some positive reviews in particular from music journalist Ed Nimmervoll. Here’s Matt’s recall of events, “I was in Genesis at the time and Sleepy was in Carson. So different players from both bands recorded Bad Luck Feeling as Meating. That paved the way for both myself and Sleepy to be taken seriously as songwriters.”

Matt’s desire for the band (for want of a better term as they only formed to record the single) was to be called Meeting, but Sleepy wanted something with a bit more grunt and called it Meating-even though Matt was a vegetarian.

A short time later the Carson County Band would release their first single ‘On The Highway/Resting Place’ (DG-270/06), both Sleepy originals. ‘On The Highway’ had bass player Ian Fingers Ferguson singing all vocals, including his own harmonies. Originally I had thought Paul Lever may have blown the harp on the tune as Matt Taylor had informed me he hadn’t. Ian Fingers Ferguson now better known as just Ferg put me on the right path. He had caught up with his old mate Sleepy who confirmed it was Matt. I sent Matt a grab of the harp from the song and he conceded graciously, “Yep, that’s me”. He, like others were forgetting when they were young. He hadn’t remembered playing harmonica on Russell Morris’ 1971 album Bloodstone. Matt blew licks on ‘Jail Jonah’s Daughter’ which appears as the ‘B’ side of Russell’s successful single ‘Sweet Sweet Love’.

Carson County Band shortened their name to Carson to avoid confusion they were a country band. In this picture (courtesy of Ferg) Matt is seen sitting in on a Carson gig at Melbourne night club Sebastians with Ian. Carson included a fine version of Meating’s Bad Luck Feeling in their live sets without the instrument that fits in your pocket.

The band headed to the studio to master a second single ‘Travelling South’ (under their new abbreviated name) this time on the Havoc label. Ian Ferguson’s vocals were later removed from this session and Brod Smith’s layered in when the 45 was eventually released in August of 1971. Ferg’s brilliant bass line, however would be retained. The planned ‘B’ side, ‘Morning Train’ was deleted and replaced with the tune ‘Moonshine’. Carson was experiencing line up changes around the time of producing the single. John Capek departed to join King Harvest and Brod Smith and Ian Willy Winter joined the group. Ferg would abscond a month before the release of ‘Travelling South’ and his reason, “I was never a big fan of Broderick and the band was shifting from progressive blues to more mundane twelve bar blues Bumpa Bumpa’s everything was sounding too Elmore James.”

With a rebel yell here’s some of Matt’s harp from his first three recordings, Rebel.

Ch SD

Thanks to Ferg for his help in providing information for this article. Here is a list of musicians on the recordings that he kindly provided.

Carson County Band and Carson Singles

Carson County Band:

“On The Highway”

Ian Ferguson; Bass and Vocals

Greg Lawrie; Guitar

John Capek; Electric Piano

Tony Lunt; Drums

Matt Taylor; Harmonica

“Resting Place”

Ian Ferguson; Bass and Vocals

Greg Lawrie; Guitar

Tony Enery; Electric Piano

Tony Lunt; Drums

Ian Wallace; Sax Solo

Jeremy Noone; Sax

Simon Wettenhall; Trumpet

Barry Harvey; Congas

 

Carson:

“Travelling South”

Broderick Smith; Vocals

Greg Lawrie; Guitar

Ian Winter; Guitar

Ian Ferguson; Bass

Tony Lunt; Drums

“Moonshine”

Broderick Smith; Vocals and Harmonica

Greg Lawrie; Guitar

Ian Winter; Guitar

Barry Sullivan; Bass

Tony Lunt; Drums

Run Rabbit Run-NFSCD #9

1st September, 2019

Happy new month. Lock up your grandmothers!

(The Herald, Melbourne, Monday 2 March 1936)

Here is the rest of the information contained within this article.

A grandmother appealed to the City Court today to stop her grandson playing a mouth-organ. Stanley Gorman, a young rabbit-trapper, who came to the City from Yarram for a week-end visit, was charged with having begged alms in Post Office Place on Saturday morning. According to Constable D. Trainor, a number of people placed coins in Gorman’s hat while he was playing his mouth-organ about 11.30 a.m. Granted permission to speak for the boy, his grandmother. Mrs Annie Gorman of North Melbourne, told Mr Bond P.M, that “that confounded mouth-organ has been his downfall. Always playing I wish you would make him leave it behind in the cell,” she said earnestly. “He spends all his time playing, playing so that it has become a jolly nuisances to him. I can’t understand it at all.” Mrs Gorman added that her grandson was a good boy. She had “reared him up” herself after his mother died when he was a baby. Mr Bond adjourned the case to a date to be fixed not later than June 29. “We are giving you this chance on condition that you get back to the country and stay there,” Mr Bond warned Gorman.

Another report this time in the Perth Daily News (Wednesday 11 March 1936).

He’s just a wee wascally wabbit.

Ch SD

PS: A quick shout out to Steve Cash one of my all time favourite harmonica players, who has recently announced he won’t be touring anymore with the Ozark Mountain Daredevils due to health reasons. Our prayers are with you mate.

While on the Daredevils they have a new record out and it has an updated version of If You Wanna To Get To Heaven (20-20), it’s an absolute ripper. I also dig the tune Your Still Here. Nice!

Chromatically Chromonica Chronologically

16th August, 2019

Hi Riff Raffers,

A new, very old harp housed in its original box now resides in my humble collection. Mark Weber has meticulously investigated and reviewed technical aspects of the harp at chromhistory.

What follows is an account of my pursuance from world experts on how, when and where this Hohner harp, ‘The Up To Date Chromatically Tuned’ fits into chromatic history. Remember if you know what and how, you should known when and where. First cab off the rank of course was harmonica guru, Pat Missin.

Hi Shep.

I have never seen “Up To Date” on a chromatic, nor have I ever seen a Hohner chromatic that looks anything like that, nor does it resemble, as far as I can tell from the photos, any of the Hohner patents for chromatic harmonica. I have no idea where this fits into the chronology of the instrument. — Pat.

Pat in a follow up email had this interesting titbit.

The whole history of the Hohner chromatic is really weird. The 260 first appeared in Hohner catalogues and the music press around 1911. Then it vanished for more than a decade and finally pops up in catalogues around 1923, with the music trade publications describing it as a new instrument. Then a few years later still, the patent for it gets published. It’s all very odd.

So where this one fits into it all, I have no idea. It could be a prototype that somehow escaped. That has happened – I have a 14-hole Super Chromonica that was never officially produced. It could also be a short-lived design that somehow never made it into their catalogs and escaped the attention of the music trade mags. Perhaps it was unsuccessful and Hohner tried to pretend it never existed. At this point, I honestly have no idea.

Have you run this one by John Whiteman? — Pat.

No I hadn’t, so I ran this by John.

Hi Shep,

It is well documented that the 260 10-hole chromatic made its commercial debut in 1911.  The chromatic that you have is clearly earlier than that. Here is how I date it at approximately 1901:

1) The label indicates 3,000,000 harmonicas produced per annum and 1,000 workmen.  This dates it to approximately 1900. 

2) There is a star in the trademark.  I believe it was added in 1901.  That would date it to 1901 or later, but the 3,000,000/annum holds it back at 1901

3) The slide handle and spring are of a less mature design than the 260 that appeared in 1911.

4) “Up to Date” in the name meant nothing and was evidently put there because they had nothing better to say, yet they failed to suffix it with “harmonica”.

5) “Patented in All Countries” couldn’t be true, so they put it out in limited numbers with a CYA statement about patent, and probably about registration.

I suggest sending the photos to Martin Haffner at the harmonica museum in Trossingen.  I saw nothing like this in that Hohner Museum. Thanks for sharing the photos and history of your purchase. John

I took on John’s suggestion and contacted the museum, however a response would take several attempts and efforts of people working behind the scenes for it to come to fruition. Then blow me down, Pat had this fantastic discovery.

Looks like my gut feeling on the date was wrong. Attached is a page from Music Trade Review, September 1898. I missed this the first time I searched. I’m not finding any later references to it in MTR. — Pat.

When thanked and questioned on how he had acquired this gem, Pat replied.

Happy to help. I’m pleased I gave it another shot – this time I just searched for “chromatically tuned” and that turned it up.

Up until you found this one, the standard chromatic history was that there were several prototypes in the late 1800s, then Hohner advertised the 260 around 1910 (describing it as “the first and only practical one”), but then it vanished for more than a decade. It suddenly popped back up in the early 20s, with Hohner promoting it as though it were brand new. Even weirder, the patents for it didn’t get published until several years later and I’ve never seen any reference to the chromatic “Up To Date” in any Hohner publications, or elsewhere, except for that MTR article. It’s all very strange.

I have a pretty complete collection of German harmonica patents and I’ve never seen a Hohner patent that resembles the chromatic UtD. It’s possible that they may have registered a DRGM for it, but that’s not as easy to dig up. However, I agree with John that “patented in all countries” is some creative BS.

Anyway, here is some background that might be interesting:

https://www.patmissin.com/patents/patents.html#chronology.

Finally, after a little behind the scenes prompting, Martin Haffner (to be fair he had been away) from the harmonica museum replied.

Dear Shep

In short: Your find is spectacular! We do have many different Up to date harmonicas in our collection, but no “chromatically tuned”.

And just now I had a look inside the catalogues, printed for the American / English market in the early 1900s (around 1902/1903). Your model is not mentioned at all.

I’ve got a mail by Roger Trobridge England with an attachment of the Musical Trade Review, Sept. 1898. There is the “Up to date chromatically tuned” mentioned as a new Hohner product. Since the fan community is not so big, you must have got this source meanwhile.

My theory: In fact the model was produced in 1898 (perhaps still 1899), but it must have been a commercial flop. Probably the mechanism didn’t work.(?) As far as I know, our archive has no single document telling anything about this rare model.

The “Up to date chromatically tuned” was an early try. And there was a break of minimum ten years, until the later well known Hohner “Chromonica” was mentioned the first time.

Please send me your report / keep me up to date!!!

Best regards

Martin Häffner

Director

During this chromatic journey I became intrigued into the tuning of all these harps and wondered when and where ‘solo’ tuning came into existence. I probed Pat’s endless knowledge once again. Remembering that if we knew why and who, that would tell us when and where.

“Richter Tuning” is a relatively new term. I’m not certain, but it seems to have originated in the 1980s. The original term was “Richter System” and it referred to one of the various types of harmonica construction:

https://patmissin.com/ffaq/q36.html

Using the name Richter to denote the tuning is a little iffy, as other types of construction (Knittlinger and Viennese in particular) use a similar note layout. However, there is no denying that the term “Richter Tuning” is in common usage. It gets a little messy with the typical chromatic harmonica being technically a Knittlinger System construction (they are basically made like Concert harp, with the addition of the mouthpiece and slide assembly), so referring to them as “Richter Tuned” is a little awkward, although most people would know what you meant.

The 260 is the catalogue number for what was originally termed the Chromatic Harmonica and later the Chromonica, changing to the latter sometime in 1924. It has been made in several different tunings over the years. Initially, it was tuned like a standard 10-hole diatonic in C, with the button changing it to a C sharp scale. This was later referred to by Hohner as “Regular Tuning”, but most people now call it a Richter tuned chromatic.

By the 1930s, it was also available in Solo Tuning. However, that was different to how a 10-hole Solo chromatic would be set up now. Hole 4 and upwards were tuned like the Regular Tuning. 1, 2 and 3 blow were tuned E, G and C, the draw notes tuned F, A and B, with the slide raising each by a semitone.

Then some time later, the Solo Tuned 260 was changed so that it was like a standard 12-hole Solo Tuned chromatic, but missing the top two holes. Not sure when that happened – maybe after WWII?

 

 

 

The slide spring was changed from external to an internal one in the late 1920s around the same time the Super Chromonica was produced. The Super was originally designated 260 1/2 and later changed to 270. It has always been in Solo Tuning, available in a variety of keys.

Solo tuning predates the Chromonica by some time and was originally intended for use on diatonics:

https://www.patmissin.com/ffaq/q41.html

Older chromatic players recall the change to Solo Tuning back in the day, but apparently at that time it was called Haussler Tuning, after William Haussler who worked for Hohner US and was apparently responsible for a lot of harmonica development and promotion:

https://www.patmissin.com/78rpm/78rpm.html#williamhaussler

For thoroughness, the two patents I’ve been able to locate for the Hohner Chromonica are (click on diagram):

 

 

On the latter page I say: “The Chromonica 260 had been available for almost two decades when this patent was granted”. That probably needs to be amended. As far as I can make out, they announced the 260 in 1910/1911, but it doesn’t appear to have actually been available until later. It reappears in 1923 and is touted as being a new instrument. The following year it was recorded for the first time:

https://www.patmissin.com/78rpm/78rpm.html#borrahminevitch

Which brings me back to the Up To Date. I have been unable to find any other references to the UTD Chromatically Tuned, aside from that MTR article. If it weren’t for you actually owning one, I would have dismissed it as vapourware. There have certainly been numerous instances of Hohner announcing a new instrument that never actually materialised. My wife had an idea about this. She worked in product development for a couple of large companies and often they would send out trade samples of items. These were small production runs that were past the prototype stage and in their final (or near final) packaging, sent out to various dealers to test the market. Sometimes the feedback they got from them lead to changes in the product or packaging, sometimes it lead to the item being killed before going into full production. It’s possible that’s what happened with the UTD Chromatically Tuned and might explain why there are so few records of its existence. — Pat.

I had better throw in the 64 Chromonica into the chronology, which was available down under in 1936.

1936-Hohner 64 Chromonica

While we’re at it lets quickly have a gander where a couple of Aussie Chromatics fit within the chronology.

1936-Albert’s Boomerang Chromorgan made by Seydel (Picture courtesy of John Whiteman)

 

1937-Allan’s Crackamonic made by F A Rauner (photo’s courtesy of Doug Dawson)

A few closing, late additions relating to Klingenthal companies still having the external spring long after Hohner’s internal design and the use of standard tuning on Chromatics. Over to you Pat.

It seems reasonable to assume that the chromatics in Regular Tuning were intended for use with vamped chords in the lower octave. There is also the factor that it meant that someone experienced on a standard diatonic would be able to pick up the new fangled chromatic, without having to learn a new tuning. I suspect that was a factor too.

Also, there was a tuning variant for the 260 I forgot to mention-Alto Tuning. This was the same layout as the older Solo Tuning (ie the one with just the lowest three holes changed), but one whole octave lower in pitch.

It does seem like the Klingenthal companies lagged a little with chromatic design. It’s also possible that Hohner were aggressively defending their German patent from 1930. Currently a German patent has a term of 20 years. It used to be 15 years, but I’m not sure when it was extended. WWII may also have affected things. — Pat.

Further to Pat’s earlier mention that the 260 was not sold until over a decade after it was first announced, a Nicholson & Co advertisement in The Sydney Daily Telegraph (12th December, 1913) for Hohner’s celebrated Chromatic (selling for 7/6) would perhaps suggest otherwise, although this is the only evidence I could find of its sale before the 1920’s.

Pat responded.

As for the Nicholson’s ad, that is the earliest evidence of them being offered for sale that I’ve heard of. I had more or less come to the conclusion that they were advertised in 1910, but never actually sold until more than a decade later. That said, is it possible that Nicholson’s were advertising them without actually having any in stock? – – Pat

My immediate thought was that ‘The Great War’ may have impacted production and sales of the Hohner Chromatic.

Cheers and Guinness frothies to all participants, in particular to Pat Missin (& wife) whose efforts went way beyond the call of duty, John Whiteman, Martin Haffner & Mark Weber. In finishing, how and when didn’t tell us what and where, but it was who and what that told us when and where. Ch SD

Hound Dog-NFSCD #8.5

15th August, 2019

G’Day Raffers,

The Dawg Blawg has been posting for twelve months and we celebrate with a special NFSCD #8.5 commemorative edition with a story of a dog singing to the ten hole tin can and we follow up tomorrow with an early release of a feature article, ‘Chromatically Chromonica Chronologically’.

Today’s edition brings back fond, distant memories of our family dog Teddy, who way back in the sixties crooned along with Harry Belafonte.

Don’t forget our Dingo man either, former Australian Boxing champion John Cooper from Nymboida, Northern Territory, well known from the ABC’s television promo-check John and his pack out here https://youtu.be/eqZUAaBBWzU.

(Sydney Sunday Herald, 2 October 1949)

Cheers & celebratory frothies. C U 2morro. SD

PS: How about this? I wonder what it means? I came in at number five!

Paul Langford Lever

August 5th, 2019

Hey there Riff Raffers,

Floating on a cloud with a cosmic shroud. Play your music loud Chetarca.

“He was one of the pioneers.” (Matt Taylor)

“Paul was the best harmonica player I had heard and a lovely man with a beautiful soulful voice and a great sense of humour.” (Andy Vance)

“Paul Lever was a great blues harp player.” (Kerryn Tolhurst)

“He was a good harp player, actually a very good harp player for the time.” (Brod Smith)

“I knew Paul Lever well and considered him to be an outstanding blues/rock harmonica player.” (Billy Pinnell)

“He was a great guy, funny, engaging and a great storyteller.” (Bruce Bryan)

(Is there another band member in the flying saucer. Perhaps it’s a light fitting for you sceptics)

Paul had his own band performing around the Melbourne nightclubs under the name Langford Lever (Langford was Paul’s middle name) and would later be named the Langford Lever Blues Band. When Kerryn Tolhurst returned from National Service duties in 1969 he recruited Paul for the reformation of the Adderley Smith Blues Band. All was not rosy and Paul would leave the band due to personal issues and would be replaced by Joe Camilleri. Paul, who had developed quite a sizeable fan base was involved in an unfortunate incident which occurred at the Dallas Brooks Hall on May 14, 1970 during a blues show with Dutch Tilders. With Joe as their new frontman he strutted the stage like Mick Jagger wearing a garish outfit consisting of a green shirt and pink strides, much to the band’s dismay and Adderley’s fans. Paul was in the audience and on the fans insistence Paul mounted the stage grabbing the microphone and professed “this is not the blues” and then took over the show. That was Joe’s last stand and Kerryn’s last encounter with Paul. Kerryn reflecting on this, commented, “He was a troubled and beautiful soul and certainly needed support, but I loved his passion and it’s so sad that he couldn’t get help.”

Briefly in 1970 Paul joined the Carson County Band formed by Greg ‘Sleepy’ Lawrie. Bass player and vocalist Ian ‘Fingers’ Ferguson for the band said that, Paul was a nice guy, but was nervous and unsure of himself constantly asking is that okay, when it was fine. It just got too much for Greg.”

In 1971 Paul had Langford Lever gigging again. They competed in Hoadley’s Battle Of The Sounds of that year finishing unplaced behind Fraternity. They appeared on GTK and Sunbury ’72 and ’73. Langford Lever would morph into Chetarca a progressive rock band that were way ahead of their time. Chetarca was a phonetic word first put forward by band member Ian Miller believing it reflected the band’s sound. It did, however cop some flack as a Shitaki mushroom. Paul, along with drummer Geoff Gallent and the amazing guitarist Ian Miller (who would later be with John Paul Young’s All Stars) were joined in Chetarca by keyboardist Andy Vance, his friend bass guitarist John Rees (who was a key member of Men At Work) and Bruce Bryan on synthesisers (and album producer). They released a seminal self titled album in 1975 along with the single ‘Another Day’. The album is highly sought after today by avid vinyl collectors paying between $200 and $300 and their music is extremely popular today in Eastern Bloc countries including Russia. The single peaked at number 75 on the hit parade.

On the album’s liner notes Billy Pinnell is credited for his help. Andy Vance explains, “Billy managed us for awhile to get us going and he encouraged us incredibly, but he was really like a wonderful mentor and friend to us all who introduced us to all sorts of nice people in the music industry.”

Billy was glowing of Paul’s involvement in Chetarca, “While out of his comfort zone in ‘Chetarca’, whose influences included classical music, ‘Emerson Lake and Palmer’ and ‘Frank Zappa’ he adapted extremely well to a band with no other soloists (apart from Andrew Vance’s keyboards) offering subtle harmonica solos on quieter songs, exciting flurries on other. Paul was also a versatile singer and a great front man.” Andy Vance reflected, “We were a progressive rock band and Paul’s vocals and versatility on the harmonica gave the band a style of music that was very appealing to a wider audience. I still get enquiries about the music and particularly Paul’s contribution.” Bruce Bryan has fond memories of his time with the band and Paul. He remembered Daryl Braithwaite being asked in an interview who he thought was Australia’s best singer and replying with Paul Lever. Bruce agreed, “He was right. Paul had great range and could put so much emotion into each song.”

Chetarca would go on to support international acts Electric Light Orchestra and Frank Zappa. They were on stage at Sunbury ’75 and were the backing band for Gerry Humphries. The band’s breakup was a bit of a mystery to some of the band members as Bruce Bryan suggests, “Okay, yeah the breakup was kind of a coup, most of us did not see it coming, but Ian Miller did not want to continue and had some artistic differences with some of us. Also he was in Sydney most of the time. Andy also had some marital and health issues, as did Paul, which probably influenced the whole scenario. It wasn’t exactly unfriendly, but a couple of us did feel like we were kept out of the loop and were quite dismayed at the outcome.”

It appears the musical talents of Paul were lost then and there. Paul had issues that were compounded when medicating with alcohol. Bruce felt Paul may have been dyslexic as he had learning difficulties which resulted in a troubled childhood. Bruce stated that, He struggled to express himself in general conversation, but could write lyrics or sing a song that could be almost erudite.” Paul was a printer by trade and moved to Western Australia where he spent three years primarily sober.

Paul returned to Melbourne and in the late nighties was tragically killed crossing the road from a Collingwood Hotel where he had just bought some takeaways. The driver failed to stop.

In finishing I would like to relate this anecdote and insight on Paul provided by Kerryn Tolhurst.

“I remember he was in tears after seeing the movie ‘Midnight Cowboy’. He really related to the Dustin Hoffman character, Ratso Ricco.”

Hear some of Paul’s harp work with Chetarca‘.

Ch SD

PS: Thanks to everyone who went back in time to recall and contribute to Paul’s story.

 

 

 

Fräulein’s Fancy-NFSCD #8

August 1st, 2019

Pinch & Punch. Time for a new NFSCD and a happy birthday to my equine friends. This month we see a mysterious letter placed in a brand new mouth organ box arriving at the wrong destination. I’m putting it out there that Gerda’s surname may mean she’s related to the Herolds of Meinel-Herold, however it was/is a fairly common surname. She may have had a pretty good reason to get out of Germany at this time.

(The Beaudesert Times, 24 March 1939)

Perhaps, maybe Gerda’s pictured here?

Ch SD

PS: I’ve had a preview of Benoit’s album and I have to say without bias that it’s hotter than a fire cracker. The album kick’s off with a mighty fine tune that has the Ol Shep Dawg Hisself blowin’ the Proletariat Peace Pipe. It’ll still be awhile off from being released. I’ll keep you in the loop.

Also for your aural pleasure I’ve uploaded a new Gary Young & Steve Williams tune, a little country ditty written again by Gary, Hold You In My Arms.

Keep your eyes glued to the blawg as there’s quite a few posts this month.

Hotel Metropole

July 19, 2019

Hi Raffers,

A quick look at an Australian harmonica box owned by Canadian harmonica collector, Doug Dawson, a couple of record reviews and a link to an article written by Mark Weber about a new addition to my harp collection, which is rewriting Chromatic history, Hohner’s very first Chromatic, the Up-To-Date model from 1898! Just six letters Gollygeewowee!

Recently Doug Dawson contacted me about the article on the ‘Cobber’ tin. He kindly sent photos of other Australian harps from his extensive collection, including this box (no harp), ‘The Metropole’. With a little research and the assistance of Pat Missin on the possible identification of the maker I concluded more than likely it was a product of the Hotel Metropole in Sydney. The Hotel was advertised in 1929 as the largest and most modern in Australia.

With a peek inside the box the CHA logo and made in Saxony indicated to Pat that it was probably manufactured by C A Herold. Not a lot is known of C A Herold (Carl Anton) who operated from about 1919 to 1939.

The Hotel Metropole was built by the Australian Coffee Palace Company for £150,000 in 1890. The grand building fronted Young, Bent and Phillip streets. You were greeted at the foyer with amazing stained glass windows and mosaic tiled floors. Fitted with electric lighting and lavish furnishings there were 260 guest rooms, several dining rooms and probably a gift shop selling ‘The Metropole’ mouth organs. The roof top promenade had exquisite panoramic views of Sydney town and the heads. Prominent International visitors who registered at the hotel included Rudyard Kipling and Jack London. Sadly in 1969 the hotel was closed and demolished.

Interestingly another, perhaps hotel harp appeared on the author’s horizon, The Grosvenor Harp made by Seydel. Several hotels by this name existed in Australia with Adelaide’s having some notoriety. It’s difficult to date, although some of the World collectors suggest circa 1920.

Belmar records in Altona have a fabulous new sessions release by Mon Shelford. Mon was discovered busking on Sydney road by a Belmar house musician. Here was my review. How about this for a first up effort? Mon Shelford’s debut album is hotter than a fire cracker. Her vocals resonate in every fibre of your being. A mix of well crafted originals and uniquely arranged classics. For you Riff Raffers a wee bit of harp by Rob Price on the melodic ‘Walking On Eggshells’. Out now at Belmar-Records.bandcamp.

Canberra dynamic duo The Barren Spinsters have their new album ‘Ten Steps To Cynical Thinking’ pressed and on sale today. Eleven (I think Milkman’s Stomp qualifies) original hits book ended by tunes with the Blues Burger (Punching Above Your Weight-a newbie sitting near the middle has as well) and impressively packaged with fine artwork by Ruth Palmer, who is best known for her Enid Blyton illustrations. Do yourself a flavour and give your three speed gears an aural pleasure!

As mentioned earlier the recent addition to my harp collection has the chromatic harmonica world in a spin. My article isn’t far away, but chromatic historian Mark Weber has just published a fine analysis of this rare and in the main unheard of 1898 Hohner chromatic harmonica. Check it out here Up-To-Date. A few updates to Aussie Models timeline which includes The Melba, Topnotcher, Monarch, Wallaroo and Jazz Master.

A comeback of sorts to radio last week with a once a month (second Tuesday) Huff ‘n’ Puff segment 8:00am-9:00am (AEST) on Peej’s The Imaginary Friends Show.

Hear live off the mast here in the Dandenongs on 97.1 fm, stream anywhere on the planet at 3mdr.com or even listen into the future via the archive (about 2 hours in). Next Huff ‘n’ Puff 13/8/2019 (no show in September Peej heads to the Old Dart). Hear here 3MDR.

A new post on Soundcloud spotlighting the harp of the late Paul Langford Lever (next month’s feature article) fronting the progressive rock band Chetarca in 1975. An early pioneer of the blues harp down under. Don’t forget first of the month is another Now for Something Completely Different #8.

Ch SD

Kiss This!

5th July, 2019

G’day Riff Raffers,

Revisiting a tune with a catchy harp riff that’s having its thirtieth anniversary and is as good today as it ever was. It continues to mature like a single malt scotch whisky in an old oak barrel.

When Scottish group Del Amitri released their single ‘Kiss This Thing Goodbye’ for the first time the tune lived up to its title barely reaching the Top 60 charts in the United Kingdom. With the successful release of their second album, Waking Hours in 1989 (first self titled came out in 1985 to very little fanfare), the singles re-release went gangbusters and it was hello down under-here we are boys. The song would break the Top 30 in Australia and tours would follow.

‘Kiss This Thing Goodbye’ wasn’t atypical of the Del Amitri ambience, but instead had all the hallmarks of the American Country Rock genre (perhaps alternative as well, but I’m not sure on my genre classification regulations). The band had travelled the United States in 1986 driving around for twelve weeks with little money, busking and living with fan’s parents. It would be here that the new sounding Del Amitri would have it’s roots. Just on the name Del Amitri, Justin Currie the driving force behind the outfit claims it was meant to be meaningless and just a corruption of the Greek name Demetrius.

‘Kiss This Thing Goodbye’ is one of Justin’s all time favourites. He attributed this to the recording process handled by Mark Freegard and although it had been arduous the final product was just right. Harmonica Riff Raff has been fortunate in recent times to be in contact with Mark and also the man who blew the signature riff on the song, Julian Dawson. Here are their recollections.

SD: The album Waking Hours was a long time in the making. How did you end up producing this ripper tune?

MF: ‘Kiss This Thing Goodbye’ had previously been produced by David Kershenbaum on album sessions for the Waking Hours album and scrapped (as were all the songs he produced for the album, with the exception of a ‘b’ side ‘Maggie Brown’). I’d been working with producer Hugh Jones as an engineer on re-recordings of ‘Nothing Ever Happens’, ‘Empty’ and ‘Your Gone’ when I received the call to come in as producer-I think due to Hugh’s commitment to other projects at the time.

SD: How did the recording session come together? Were there any issues?

MF: ‘Kiss This Thing Goodbye’, ‘Stone Cold Sober’ and ‘Opposite View’ were the first songs I attempted to record with Del Amitri at Great Linford Manor. I don’t think the sessions started well. We struggled with electric guitar sounds and nothing seemed to gel. I think out of desperation more than anything we took a more acoustic approach with ‘Kiss This Thing Goodbye’. We had painstakingly created a backing track of just drums and bass and had tried various electric guitar overdubs to bring the song into focus, but without much success. I think it was when Iain (Harvie) put down some dobro playing the slide riff you hear from the off, that the track started to come to life. From there on in things became much easier and the arrangement took shape relatively swiftly.

SD: Where did the idea for mouth harp on the tune arise?

MF: I’m not sure how Julian came to the session, but we had the idea that a harmonica bouncing off the guitar arrangement with a sort of call and response around the vocal might be a good thing. I remember Julian walking in as this impressive and towering figure (well I am pretty vertically challenged!) and opening an equally impressive suitcase that seemed full of every sort of harmonica possible known to man. We would have briefed him on the sort of approach we envisioned and then just let him do his own thing-probably over five to six takes. I would have comped/edited the best bits together as you can hear on the final version. One of his harmonicas was this incredible bass or baritone (?) enormous thing that produced a fat gorgeous sound. He plays this on the middle eight break (starts 2:47) and it really sounds to me like a baritone saxophone here. Such a wonderful texture.

SD: Is there anything else you’d like to add, perhaps looking back in retrospect, Mark?

MF: Just a few years later (when I worked in America for the first time) I picked up a hire car at San Francisco airport and on the journey across one of the bridges I fiddled with the fm radio, ‘Kiss This Thing Goodbye‘ came on and sounded brilliant! This seemed a good omen for the recording I was about to undertake-The Breeders EP ‘Last Splash’ and their single ‘Cannonball’, which did pretty well for them (and me). ‘Kiss This Thing Goodbye’ was a perfect album opener and Julian’s wailing harmonica on the intro sets things up beautifully, I think. This song is right up there on my list of successful production collaborations-a track I’m really proud of having some involvement.

Julian Dawson plays the Blues Burger on the tune. He uses a harmonica in the key of ‘C’ playing in second position. The song has nice step down modulation (key change-down) to ‘F’ from ‘G’ and Julian changes to a ‘Bb’ harp to continue blowing in second position. Here’s Julian’s take on the recording session.

SD: Del Amitri’s ‘Kiss This Thing Goodbye’ was really popular here in Oz, Julian. How did you happen to blow harp on the tune?

JD: I got the gig with Del Amitri via Will Mowatt who did some keyboard work on the album and was a friend of mine in the London session world.

SD: Where did the recording take place?

JD: They were working with Mark Freegard in a residential studio somewhere in the countryside in England. It remains one of my favourite sessions.

SD: How did harp end up on the tune and how did the riff evolve?

JD: I played on a couple of tracks, but only ‘Kiss This Thing Goodbye’ made the album. It was pretty well left up to me what I played and they took my first take, which was gratifying. It all went fairly quickly. I changed the key for the solo and played a rhythm part on the outro nicked from a Jackson Browne album, played by Jimmie Fadden from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band-they faded that bit.

SD: On the songs video clip Justin is miming the harmonica part on a Hohner Super Chromonica. What’s the story there?

JD: When Justin mimed to my performance in the video it caused a bit of a stir with the Musician’s Union and I received a pretty substantial second fee for doing nothing…obviously I’d have preferred to have appeared in the video.

SD: What was your initial reaction to the finished product and do you still see Justin?

JD: It was great to hear it on the radio when it came out and I was amazed that it wasn’t a big fat hit. I really love the song (and the album it’s on), but have only seen Justin once or twice since. I played ‘Kiss This Thing Goodbye’ live with him when he played a gig near where I live a couple of years back. It was an excellent show and I really like him and his music.

SD: What are you up to these days Julian?

JD: If you want to check out my own music you can have a look at my website. I’ve played harp for Gerry Rafferty, Little Feat, Plainsong, Iain Matthews, Charlie Louvin and lots of others, quite apart from my main job as a singer songwriter.

 

“Now I’m watching the fumes foul up the sunrise.

I’m watching the light fade away

and I’m hoping tonight that I’ll open the door

and you’ll stand here and say.

So come on Babe, let’s kiss this thing goodbye.”

 

 

Ch SD

PS: Thanks to Julian and Mark for their time and information. Check out Mark’s webpage here Kyoto.

 

Lip Protector-NFSCD #7

July 1st, 2019

Happy new month Riff Raffers,

Now for something completely different number seven. This was advertised mid to late 1930’s. Not much to add really, except,”Oh really!” Mick would’ve loved it well at least liked it, yes he would.

(Sydney Morning Herald, 9th July 1938)

Ch SD

PS: Just in case you were in early on the last post #28285 there were a couple of music reviews added. Also updates to ‘Cobber & Co’. A promo for this month’s feature article is uploaded on Soundcloud. ‘Kiss This’ will be out in the next few days. See you then.