Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 366 #410)

Honest I Do!!!

Much of this week’s “Honest I Do” focus was spent listening to more examples of the tune. Joe played a couple of versions from the Alabama-born, Detroit-based harp player and vocalist, Little Sonny (Aaron Willis). A relatively obscure player, Sonny’s career dates back to the ‘50s including recording stints with the Stax, Duke, Excello, P-Vine, and Sequel labels. A great stage presence with a powerful voice, Little Sonny zeroed in on the sweet spots of the harmonica. His nervous vibrato was certainly inspired by one of his earliest heroes, Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller). You’ll hear that vibrato in his 1958 single, “I Gotta Find My Baby.” As far as we know, the 81-year-old Little Sonny still lives in Detroit, but has never made an appearance in Chicago.

Now for Little Sonny’s versions of “Honest I Do.” We listened to two live recordings:
  • 1972 Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival (Michigan). Get the album.
  • 1994 Park Tower Blues Festival (Tokyo, Japan). Mr. OH YEAH – fellow musician and B1 buddy – was at this show in Tokyo 20 years ago and shared fond memories with the class after seeing Little Sonny perform.
If you’re looking for more Little Sonny samples, Joe recommends his 1970 album, New King of the Blues Harmonica. Get it here. You can also listen to a clip of Little Sonny’s recorded version of “Honest I Do” from the Black & Blue album.

Then, Shoji shared this playlist with us:
  • Lazy Lester’s 2007 version of “Honest I Do” from the album, Texas Harmonica Rumble. Buy the album.
  • Please Accept My Love  – B.B. King (1958): The bridge may differ from Jimmy Reed’s classic, but B.B. brings the same spirit and groove (sans harmonica)
  • I Love The Life I’m Living  – Slim Harpo (1963): same groove and form as “Honest I Do” without the bridge. The feel and talking verse will remind you of “Rainin’ In My Heart”.
  • I’ll Change My Style  – Jimmy Reed (1962). No bridge in this version either, but it has that “Honest I Do” feel. Who said you can’t be inspired by your own songs.

By the way, it was great to see B1’s own Carlos Orellana visiting us from Atlanta. Great to see and hear you, Carlos!

Harmonica Einstein's Midnite Harmonica Muffler: "The Huffler"!!!

Last week, B1’s own Harmonica Einstein, Highway RickEy, showed us how to use a soft pillow to help soften those blow bends you practice. Never one for sitting still, RickEy spent last week inventing the Midnite Harmonica Muffler…also known as The Huffler.

Here’s Einstein’s pitch:

Are the dogs howling while you practice?
Is your spouse harping about your harping?
Do you want to practice more after midnight?

Then you need . . .


Yes, a muffler for your harmonica! The Huffler is a handy device that muffles and cuts the volume in half when you practice. 

Stop Jimmy Reed from rolling over in his grave and PRE-ORDER ONE TODAY! Only $19.99

Another super invention by Harmonica Einstein!
"What will he think of next?"

Connect with us at and we’ll connect you with The Huffler inventor!

Mark Your Calendars!!!

Join Charlie Yost at a backyard house party/blues jam on July 19:

4922 N. Moody
Lots of food and beverage
July 19, 3-6pm
Bring instruments and amps

- Kirk Manley and Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew