re: was Big Walter, now technique

There have been some comments on the list about custom harps, equipment, and 
the old blues sound. What did the old masters have that we don't have? A 
close knit vibrant, active community of top notch musicians-musicians that 
were willing to take young people under their wing and teach them. 

James Cotton was playing professionally with Sonny Boy Williamson at age 13. 
You think that helped his tone? Paul Butterfield got to learn from everyone 
in Chicago. Yes we have excellent harp instructors now-no denying it. Back 
then people could learn from many different musicians, learn the rhythm from 
the drums and bass, learn phrasing from the horns and vocals, learn 
showmanship etc. 

The 21st Century has advantages. We have a music library available on line 
that's unbelievable. We have discussion groups. Equipment is cheaper and 
better. Unfortunately there's a disconnect-no one is teaching the young kids 
the tools of the trade. Music has become some kind of creative mumbo jumbo 
magic with no one explaining the actuall craft of making music-the nuts and 
bolts.We have access to really good instruments.What we need is more of the 
grandmasters in the old martial arts meaning of the word, people who's whole 
life revolves around music that take young people under their wing and 
really show them how to play. There's a few out there now, Jerry Portnoy 
comes to mind. Charlie Musselwhite is always generous with his tips and 

We'll see pockets of musical greatness in different parts of the world at 
different times. Whether it will happen again for harmonica players is 
unknown. So learning your equipment and practicing your chops is important, 
but hanging out and learning from other musicians is just as important. 
Likewise, spending time wworking with beginning musicians is necessary to 
keep the music flowing. 

Rainbow Jimmy 

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