Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What Did You Miss This Week (Week 353 #397)

Walking By Myself Solos!!!

Walter Horton's solo on Walking By Myself is regarded as one of the finest recorded blues harp solos there is. So what do others do when they play the song? How do other harp players approach that solo section? Thanks to Highway RickEy for preparing a rundown of a bunch of other players covering the tune. We listened to solos from each last night:

  • Paul Butterfield, which featured his driving harp playing mixed with a very cool horn section
  • Pat Ramsey, who chose to solo over the lyric chord changes rather than going to twelve bar for the solo
  • Sugar Ray Norcia playing with Jimmy Rogers - it seems he got a late cue here and didn't know the solo was coming his way, but he responds brilliantly, builds up and makes a powerful statement
  • Madison Slim with Jimmy Rogers on the Conan O'Brien Show
  • James Cotton - we had two versions that are unconfirmed but sure sound like him
  • Bill Lupkin played it very close to the original, adding in his own Howlin' Wolf style wide vibrato
  • Alan Wilson with Canned Heat - this version has a very unique tempo change going into the solo
  • Carey Bell
  • Ron Sorin - all agree this version is smokin'! He quotes the original enough to tell the listener he knows the song, but really makes it his own with his own interpretation. Nice job, Ron!
  • Scott Bradbury
  • Cool Down Baby from Lightening Slim with Lazy Lester blowing harp is NOT a version of Walking By Myself, but RickEy stumbled across it recently and you'll note Lester definitely quotes 12 bars of WBM in his solo.

Harmonica Convergence II!!!

The April 25, 7 PM  Harmonica Convergence II at the Old Town School at 4544 Lincoln Avenue calls together a summit meeting and celebration of Chicago Blues legends and harp geniuses who are the real deal. Link to more concert information.

Special Note: Joe's Rhythm & Chording Class will kick off this show with a couple ensemble tunes!

A few years back a Harmonica Convergence took place at the Old Town School and since then, countless requests for a reprise have finally brought us to celebrate Harmonica Convergence II. This time we are delighted to announce the participation of Chicago legend Billy Boy Arnold who learned harp from his neighbor, the great John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, one of the greatest Blues harp masters of all time. Billy Boy later joined forces touring and recordings with Bo Diddley. Arnold's original songs have been covered by everyone from The Yardbirds to David Bowie.

From the west coast Mark Hummel joins this band of harp all-stars. Mark is known for his extraordinary Little Walter-like harmonica sound, and has just been nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award for his new CD titled Remembering Little Walter. Mark shares that, "Walter's original sides have become the holy grail all other harpers are still trying to aspire to."

Corky Siegel, Chamber Blues progenitor, co-founder of the Siegel-Schwall Band and Chicago Blues Reunion participant has brought the blues harmonica from classical symphony halls as guest soloist with orchestra to blues festivals and clubs. He attained world-wide recognition through platinum selling symphonic blues recordings as soloist on harmonica with the San Francisco Symphony on Deutsche Grammophon and popular recordings on Vanguard, RCA, and Alligator Records. He is a master of musical mirth, and the Old Town School is always a good-time "family" reunion of old friends.

The Old Town School's own Joe Filisko rounds out this hand of harmonica aces. Joe was named by SPAH (Society for the Preservation and Advancement of Harmonica) as the "Harmonica Player Of The Year."

Electric blues guitarist Billy Flynn provides superb backing, along with the solid bass work of RW Grigsby who has backed a who's who of music icons. Kenny Smith, son of famed Muddy Water's drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith will be driving the beat for this rare convergence of legends.

Class Notes
  • New session starts soon - register now!
Blues Blast Magazine Interviews Charlie Musselwhite!!!

"Eleventh time’s the charm!

Charlie Musselwhite has finally taken home a Grammy after a career that spans the early ‘60s. But Charlie is nothing if not a mild-mannered, courteous, friendly and patient man." [read more]

Mark Your Calendars!!!

Get up to Milwaukee for this one featuring Jim Liban, Westside Andy and more:

Wisconsin Annual Blues Harmonica Festival 2014
November 14, 2014

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew