Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 117 #161)

Sittin' On Top Of The World
Joe taught the Howlin' Wolf tune Sittin' On Top of the World (purchase on iTunes). Download Joe's transcription here. This is such a common blues song it should be in every blues harp player's repertoire.  He also stressed that it's very important to know the hook on bar 7.  Play it in unison with the band and you'll look like you know what you're doing!

Bye Bye Bird!
For years now, our friend Big Jim Themelis has been a fixture in B1. He's always a little late, always very loud, and always the most vocal proponent of "The Filisko Method". Big Jim seldom played, but his ear for tone and love of Walter Horton gave us something to strive for. He would give this sort of brusque encouragement: "That was pretty good, Grant, but you can do it better."

He's made the decision to leave us to live out his golden years in Tucson, where, if he ends up homeless, at least he'll be warm sleeping on the park bench. Last week was his last day in class and coincidentally Walter Horton's birthday, so we sent him off with a big bash. If you're in Tucson, look him up. He's the hippie with the long gray hair, sitting on a park bench smoking a cigar and keeping his "concert" harps safe (and unplayed!) in their case.

The B1 group is a bunch of characters, each with their own stories and quirky personalities. Now that we're living in the ABJ era (After Big Jim) we need to keep his memory alive, so send us your favorite Big Jim stories. The humor and energy Jim brought to class can't be replaced. You'll be missed. Bye Bye Jim!

More Class Notes!
  • Level III players should plan to play just one page next week (4/20/09) so that Joe has time to talk about topics like mic technique.
  • Please help eliminate the dreaded "chrome forest" after Level III.  Carry the music stands out into the hall before the Level IV class begins.
  • Joe is considering an additional Level III class at some point, beginning at noon on Mondays.  Let him know if this is something you would be interested in or drop us a line at newsletter@youmissedmonday.com.
  • Sign-up sheets for the 12th Old Town School Harmonica Recital on Friday, May 22 are due Monday, April 27.  Remember to show Joe the courtesy of turning in a sign-up sheet even if you can't make it.
  • WIN A FILISKO HARMONICA!  It's time for another contest.  This time the goal is to perform a "talking blues" song in the spirit of the Slim Harpo classic, Scratch My Back.  This contest is open to all students enrolled in Levels III and IV and the winner will be the song Joe thinks is the most entertaining.  More info and talking blues samples in the coming weeks.  The contest will be in June or July.
Special Guest John Nemeth - April 27!
We have the honor of hosting John Nemeth in class on Monday, April 27 at 8:00pm.  John is a west-coast soul, R&B and blues singer/harmonica player who is at the top of the Blues Roots charts right now.  Don't miss this opportunity to learn from him.  All local friends of the Filisko Method are encouraged to attend.  (Be sure to catch his gig at Legend's the night before.) 

Please note too that if you have any connections to hotels in the area, Joe is looking to help the band find rooms that night.  They are staying in town an extra night to accommodate his coming to class, so it would be good if we could help them find reasonably priced rooms. Contact us at newsletter@youmissedmonday.com if you can be of help.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew