[Harp-L] Post St. Paddy's thoughts- "back when I was learning to play, a Marine cost ...?"

 Greetings to all:

For those of you who play any kind of Celtic music, gigs tend to be plentiful around the dates leading up to and the actual Paddy's night.  While I was relegated to providing Irish Guitar backup for the headliner for these events, I was able to slip  harmonica in the rack for a few numbers.  One highlight of the night was the fiddle player putting St. Patrick's name on the guest list.  From the crowd energy think he probably did show up.  

Before our show at Cafe Du Nord in SF, we played as a duet  at an old folks home located at the old Shriner's complex.  Great audience, very attentive and they all sang along on "Danny Boy" for the last song (played on a racked Hohner 270 Bb/ with the slide reversed to the key of B for the vocalist/ ).  I noticed this one gentleman sitting on a couch in the room behind us who was very attentive to every nuance of the music, and the harmonicas in particular.  

Afterward he came up and introduced himself, and it turns out he used to run a family owned music store in San Francisco years ago.  He asked if I had any "Marine Band" harmonicas.  I showed him my gigging harps.  He didn't recognize the Lee Oscars, Deluxe, or Crossover, but did recognize and remembered selling the Marine Band classics and SP 20's.

 "How much does a Marine Band cost these days", he asked.  I gave him the rundown of the current prices of an MB 1896, Deluxe, and Crossover.

He responded that, back in his youth, they taught music in school with the Marine Band, but you had to buy them for yourselves.  So he explained how hard he had to work to save up to buy his first harmonica.  Which he said at the time was very expensive.  50 Cents!  He was astounded at the price increases.  

My memory is very fuzzy, but I remember getting various keys of Golden Melodies (because that's what I thought Sonny Terry played), I think for around $10- $15 back in the 70's.

Does any one remember what they paid for their first harmonica?  Can you beat $ .50 cents?

Burke T.


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