Monday, April 12, 2010

Ed McMahon of Blues Harp

Ed's job was pretty much to make Johnny look good. If you don't remember Carson, don't worry about it. Just to paint a pcture; Carson is to Letterman what a tuxedo is to a liezure suit. Except Carson is no longer with us. Just a little perspective on late night.

Anyway, I cannot play like Jason Ricci or Sugar blue, or even Brandon Santini, but I do a good job enhancing the sound of musical groups without being the front man. I'm a sideman, and that is what I do best. I blend and accent. That has usually been my goal, and a skill acquired both intentionally and by necessity. At open jams way back when the best way to get a turn was to play on things other harmonica players avoided. That meant accenting songs not commonly thought of as blues harp tunes.

The people I liked best get little credit in blues harp circles but they are great sidemen. The guy with Willie Nelson and the guy who used to be with Buffet--some kind of misguided ego thing must have split those guys apart. Neither is as good without the other. Buffet without the harmonica player just don't cut it. Anyway Willie and Mickey are still going. Mickey Raphael may have done some solo stuff, but the sidework with Willie has to be the bread and butter. It works.

Even though I think I ought to be getting better at a more rapid rate, or that I should be able to play like some of these other guys, the truth is I do what I do fairy well, and there is an art to it. Norton Buffalo is the main other guy I've seen who can pay while a vocal is going without messing up the sound or drowning out the voice. Norton was a far better player but not that much better when it came to purely back up.

This realization just kind of hit me. I've been playing more with the guys on the mountain lately. We've been practicing some tunes. They all sing well and play some good accoustic guitar

Ouch. If you have recessed bedframe legs, then you are lucky. If mine were just set in about 3 inches I would not have stubbed toes. That is how all bed frames should be made.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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