[Harp-L] re: Suggested player to learn from -- I answer myself ...

A week or so ago I asked for suggestions of recorded harmonica -- in a band context, not primarily a soloist and not primarily a blues player -- to pass on to a guy who´s in need of learning material. That is, he´s in need of listening to a good harp player who makes use of the instrument in a band, as a "regular" instrument, without that band becoming a "harmonica driven" band (we have plenty of that in blues), and who plays well and does not play ALL THE BLOODY TIME.
Turns out I had done my research poorly. One good answer was so to say lying before my very eyes, on Spotify. I have one record w/ Levon Helm & The RCO All Stars, harmonica by Butterfield -- but I had somehow missed that they recorded a live concert in 1977.
  This is a shining example of how to integrate the harmonica in a band -- a rather large band w/ horns -- and where you get just the right amount of harmonica, because Paul shows restraint. He´s present on every song, sings a couple himself, takes solos, but shuts his mouth completely at times.
  It´s not complicated stuff (roughly the same songs/type of songs as on the RCO All Stars record) but you could easily have ruined this w/ a more aggressive/ self-flaunting harp player.
The attraction of Butterfield isn´t shared by all, so I gather, and that´s in order. He has a very big, almost crude, vibrato that makes him instantly recognizable. I like the intensity he projects in that -- but I can understand people calling it un-subtle or something.
  Also he seems not really to have mastered the upper octave in his playing, can´t really say why, but few, if any blues players in the 50´s and 60´s could comfortably go through all three octaves. (Disproof is welcome: I think Charlie Musselwhite may have been the first ... "modern" blues player to achieve this.)
A great many people are stuck w/ the music that affected them most in their impressionable age, say between 15-20 years of age. "Stuck" in the sense that they find it tough to think objectively about that: it´s always the greatest there was, somehow by a lucky coincidence overlapping their later youth. (Interesting how people who grew up in the 80´s deal with this ...) 
  Butterfield came to me later, I´m happy to say, and at times he disappointed greatly in his 20 years career (see what drugs can do), and I don´t care a whole lot for the Butterfield Blues Band in the 60´s. His later stuff was at times deplorable -- but the Better Days records and concerts are still standing. "Levon Helm & The RCO All Stars Live at the Palladium in New York New Year´s Eve 1977" is well worth checking out if you feel the same.

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