[Harp-L] Sgros at Buckeye and Buckeye itself

I want to say something about the Sgro Brothers at Buckeye Saturday.
We all have our harmonica heros. God only knows how much time I've spent dissecting some of these tones Tony Sgro put out on the Puleo albums and trying to make them on my chord. Tony and Dom are two of my favorite players... being able to actually see and hear them some 50 years after they made those albums is a feeling, I, a long-time professional writer am at a loss of words to describe. 

There performance was beyond awesome, it was shock and awe. 
Now, the Sgros are getting up there. Dom is like 78, Tony is 75. So, you'd think they'd act their age, but they didn't. The showmanship was incredible. They held back nothing. Tony had the chord shooting back and forth in a blur, striking every chord. 
There was this one moment of slapstickness where Tony's chord shoots out at Dom's face, then Dom reels from it in three stooges style. It was so perfectly executed that I, paying EXTREMELY close attention, still am not sure whether the execution was perfect, or if it was off and Dom actually did get hit in the face. It was full of fun moments like that. Dom's dancing around the whole show... the energy was incredible.

At the end of the show, they played "Lover Come Back to Me," which Dom was telling me he had arranged for Puleo's No. 7 album (David Doucette did most of the arranging). For those who aren't familiar with it, it's a lightning fast blitz of notes that had to be incredibly difficult for Dom at his age, but he freaking NAILED it. It wasn't a tired version of it, it wasn't slowed down, it wasn't simplified, he played it just like he did in the 1950s. Circumstances arose where I got to tune Dom's harmonica before the show and I had to do it by ear because the automatic tuner couldn't cut through the noise. Man, I was in "Wow, this is really DOM SGRO'S harmonica!" mode the whole time.  
For me, there was a fullfilling of a sound that I had wanted to hear for a long time. There's this one song on Puleo's last album, "All My Loving" that has a bass guitar and drums, that I love, but that's the only time I know of Puleo's gang used that, and I had wondered if they made another album what that sound could have evolved into. They had George Miklas laying down some bass lines and had a great drummer. Tony had a good deal of reverb on his chord. Now I know. I love that sound.

Dom's chromatic technique was great. He was doing this thing that I suppose you call a delayed octave, where you hit an octave, but one of the notes comes in a fraction of a second later than the other. It's insane. Gives me chills. 

So for the last song, "Lover Come Back to Me," they nailed everything.  But the show was over, and I was thinking "hell no!" and start yelling "more" and there's "more" coming from all over the place. That Lover Come Back piece is so difficult, and with the energy he put into it, it had to have dang near killed Dom. But they gave what we asked for and more, plus a "Semper Fi!" to boot. 

I also want to say that everyone was very good to me. I'm thankful for Danny G who pulled the greatest Buckeye I've ever been to out of his rear end at the last minute. I'm thankful for Phil Caltabellotta, who always gave me these wonderful introductions that always got me on the right foot, I'm actually a bit awkward when meeting people sometimes. When I got there, Phil was sitting with Dom Sgro, Phil knew how much I idolized him, so he gives me this glowing introduction, then makes some excuse that he needs to go and puts me in his seat... so it's just me and Dom sitting there. I will never forget that. Then, Bob Herndon shows up, Dom eventually leaves and it's just me and Bob, the chord/harmonetta legend and he gives me a great crash course in chord harmonica playing. Thanks to Bob's nuggets of melodic chord theory, I played the best chord harmonica of my life at the blues jam that night. 

Another was Al Smith. What an all around wonderful man he is flooding me with all these great stories. I spent a lot of time enthralled by him. Bob McFarlane is hilarious. He can say absolutely nothing and have you busting a gut. I had a wonderful time hanging out with Madcat Ruth, who signed a CD for me and that $5 bill that's now in circulation. Oh, and so many more fantastic people. It was a wonderful experience.

I sanded a section of the back of my Ray Tankersley formerly-owned 48 chord down to pearwood and had some chord legends, Al Smith, Tony Sgro, Bob Herndon and George Miklas sign it. Dom and Tony also signed some Puleo albums I brought with me. I bought their newst CD, which is awesome, it has a bonus of the "Lover Come Back to me" they recorded with David Doucette back in the 50s.  

BTW, the Harpbeats have uploaded their Buckeye show to Youtube. Here's one to get you there:
George is doing some nice Al Fiore moves on the chord, getting in Phil's face and stuff like Fiore used to do to Murad.

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