Happy new month Riff Raffers. Our penultimate NFSCD, #11!
Larry Adler was a phenomenon worldwide and he took Australia by storm when he toured in the late 1930’s. He was even a good mate of our Don Bradman. Here’s some sound advice from the little master and a few caricatures to boot.
PS: Benoit has released another tune off his album Blue Bird for aural consumption. I had the honour of blowing a little harp on the melodic I Thought That I Would Always Have It All. Thanks Benoit. Details of his CD launch on his Facebook. A couple of new additions to Aussie Models Timeline 1925 & 1929. Check them out you need to scroll right down for pictures and information.
Now For Something Completely Different from 1938 an ex-Diatonic Aussie Champion with a gripe, but with an idea. I wonder who it was. Was it Percy? I’m declaring my bias here-nothing beats a diatonic and a chordal vamp! (If you hadn’t already guessed). I must question if there is any need for musical contests? Surely competition detracts from the intrinsic nature of music. How do you compare apples with pears? Yeah I know they are both fruits. Okay, how about Brussel sprouts and pears. Leave contests to the sporting world! Although a similar problem occurs there especially in team sports.
Our local brand of Australian Rules Football (not to be confused with the corporate game branded AFL) rewards individuals with Best & Fairest medals for the season. A mid-fielder/on-baller has a distinctive advantage/bias over those playing key roles in the forward or backline and they dominate voting at both club and league level. Why do they need a subjective adjudicated individual award in a team sport anyway? There’s no criteria for assessment, just who you reckon. Also predominantly at club level the judges are parents of the participants, however I do digress.
Interestingly a letter to The Herald a Melbourne newspaper in January of 1930 from J Herbert Hughes from Burwood suggested that, “the only way to find Australia’s best mouth-organist is to have a competition where each player is numbered and walk on to a darkened stage so that the judge would not know who was playing.” Surely there wasn’t bias in mouth organ judging based on who the participant was? Maybe there was nepotism here as well.
PS: By the way did I mention that at league level they get the umpires to vote on the best players and they can’t even get the free kicks right. Okay I hear you-that’s enough. I’ve taken a chill pill.
Feature article Buffalo Blues Burger out on the 5th October!
Another update to Aussie timeline in the way of a picture of Sydney Dickens’ actual Echophone.
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.
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 Daredevilsthey 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!
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!
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?
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.
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)
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.
Next time you see one try playing the pocket harp, but there’s no need to go any further they will go their own way (you can call it just another lonely day). It is a myth that snakes cannot hear. They don’t have eardrums, but possess inner ears which detect ground vibrations and other low pitch sounds.
(Albury Banner & Wodonga Express, 26 February 1937)
(Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 25 January, 1940)
Larry Adler demonstrates how it’s done with a 12 foot carpet snake at the Lone Pine Zoo. No other implements required!
(Sydney Sun, 9 April, 1939)
PS: Check Out new Soundcloud upload featuring Blighty with his band, hear here -‘Flyers‘.
Now for something completely different number three.
(The Sydney Sun, 25th September, 1947)
He Plays His Harmonica On The Harbour Bed
Maritime Services Board diver Bill Lamb plays a harmonica while standing on the bottom of Sydney Harbour. He developed this curious habit to amuse himself during idle moments and claims that he is the only man in the world who can do it. SWARTHY, thick set and 53-years-old, Lamb decided he would become a diver at the ripe old age of eight. At that time he was living at Jervis Bay and was inspired by a Navy diver doing a repair job on a warship. “I’ve achieved my ambition, and believe me there is no other job like it,” he said. A competent harmonica player on the shore. Lamb is out on his own when it comes to playing at depths up to 60ft. He often takes a harmonica below to entertain his mates above. Inside the spacious diving helmet are attached two clips which hold the harmonica in position near the mouth. It is as easy, Lamb says, to move the mouth across the harmonica, as to move the harmonica across the mouth. Near the harmonica is the microphone of the diver’s telephone. This transmits either orders from the diver or, in Bill’s case, the strains of “I’m Nobody’s Baby Now.”With the Maritime Services Board, .. he works a 40-hour week, spending at least 23 hours of that under water.
By Walter Brooks
A couple of other headlines that featured Bill down under.
Here’s a story about how the humble harmonica improved a racehorses temperament and with it his performance, aided by a coffee or two.
(Brisbane Telegraph, 21st January, 1950)
(Brisbane Telegraph, Sunday 22nd January, 1950)
(Brisbane Truth, 3rd December, 1950)
Piccolo Pete having admitted his guilt, of sorts, said his conscience was clear. He accepted the stewards findings and would not appeal, proclaiming he was a man of his word. Then there was a change of heart. Here’s what really happened and how the old chestnut, the war injury (a bit of shrapnel) played out.
(The Central Queensland Herald, 7th December, 1950)
I felt I needed to add a few of my research notes to this amazing tale. You just couldn’t make it up, or could you Pete?
Pete was a celebrated show ring identity and noted buck jumper. His real name was John Scott Petersen. This was his first attempt as a racehorse trainer. Pete was tired of breaking in and training horses for others. Hi Lista was said to be an out-and-out rogue and had been cast off by several trainers. Pete claimed music soothed the highly strung Hi Lista, who he had worked with in the past.
Every night he would play the mouth organ in the four year old geldings stable and often they would fall asleep. Even at the racecourse Hi Lista had a tune blown on the gob organ. Pete had told anyone who would listen that he would turn this outlaw into a proper racehorse.
Two months after Pete had acquired the horse he won a buck jumpin’ contest and would ride Hi Lista in a bulldoggin’ exhibition. I say acquired as he said he bought the horse for £300, although Queensland racing steward’s records suggested he leased the horse. A month out from racing this highly strung horse ventured to the ‘Centaura’ show in Ipswich and was hired out for ‘kiddies’ rides at 3d a mount. At one stage he raced six times in eight days and if he wasn’t racing everyday, training would consist of rounding up cattle each day and a track gallop once a week.
Hi Lista returned a positive swab to caffeine after his short head city win in Doomben, where he ventured round at the juicy odds of twenty five to one. This was reported as a godsend for ‘bookies’ as the favourite, ‘Gallipoli’ had been heavily backed. On the first day of the inquiry Petersen admitted to providing the horse with nine APC tablets – a combination of Aspirin, Phenacitin and Caffeine. They were administered with warm water in three equal dosages. Stewards questioned Pete about the stimulatory effect of caffeine and how that could improve the horses stamina, speed and courage.
Pete responded that they weren’t given for that reason, but rather to settle Hi Lista who was a nervous horse and this was used in conjunction with playing tunes on the mouth organ. Stewards questioned when the horse was first administered with the concoction and why the horse was specifically given APC? To which Pete replied, “Aftereverytimehegallops.” He also added that he first used the powders after Hi Lista “waschewedbyacattledog, priortowinninginBeaudesertinAugust.” He continued, “Iusethepowdersmyselfforanoldwarinjury.” (The Courier Mail 2nd December 1950). All the horse needed was a ‘cuppa’ tea and a good lie down.
When officials inquired about stable security, Pete explained that he didn’t have locks at his Hendra stable. He did have three booby traps set up as he was living near ‘ne’er-do-wells’ and some of them were jealous of him. The night before the race in question a booby trap was set off. Pete searched high and low with no luck. He blew Hi Lista a couple of tunes on the mouth organ and then went back to bed. Pete attempted to have two men provide evidence of his good character at the hearing, however he couldn’t convince them to attend. He told stewards he only wanted them to speak the truth. Pete offered a letter referencing his fine character to be read out. Stewards declined as it was unsigned.
At his appeal of his life ban Pete said he was in the clutches of a gang and he was just waiting to put his hands on some men. He thought he could clean up the gang like he had done in the Gulf country with some cattle rustlers.
As far as I can ascertain Pete’s ban remained. Hi Lista had his life ban reduced to twelve months. Not sure that he raced again. Perhaps he missed his mouth organ tunes and morning coffee.
PS: The timing of this article with breaking news in Victorian horse racing is purely coincidental. Horse racing from time to time becomes front page news for the wrong reasons. If trainers only additional aid to improving performance was just a bit of mouth harp boogie, then the welfare of horses would be somewhat enhanced.
Happy New Year Riff Raffers and now for something completely different.
This year on the first of each month I will feature a short article(s) under the banner of, ‘NowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent’. It will be a little quirky while honouring the history of the mouth organ in Australia and beyond. Our first ‘NFSCD’ (for abbreviation purposes) is a time honoured concern for mouth organ/harmonica players whether it be busking or blowing in a band, the need for more volume (without feedback!).
(‘The Australasian’ 12 March, 1923)
What about this one? It even has a mini drum for percussion.