Re: [Harp-L] Don Les

On Apr 16, 2016, at 9:34 AM, Mick Zaklan wrote:

>   I attended my first harmonica fest in 1990, the "Dixie Fest" in
> Birmingham, Alabama.

I didn't even know that there were fests till 91. George Miklas told me: "You ought to go to spah".  Back
then we had Larry Stutz, Jack Allison, Don Allen, Richard Harris, and a bunch more showing up. All 
great players. 

>  Then I made most the SPAH conventions since '91.
> There were a few diatonic players back then that seemed to be universally
> respected; Don Les was one, a jazz player named Johnny O'Brien, and Charlie
> McCoy.  I think there was an attitude, though, that the diatonic was your
> starter harmonica.

Yup, I remember that attitude. 

>  Then you put on your big boy pants and purchased a
> chromatic.  That the diatonic was kind of like the training wheels on a
> bicycle.

I always thought it was just the opposite. A chromatic has all the notes. And once you learn their addresses, 
there isn't very many ways to get messed up. Diatonic has positions AND missing notes. So you have to make
your own. It's one thing to build a house out of a kit. Quite another to build from scratch. 

>   Pretty hard to ignore Don Les and his expertise on the diatonic.  He had
> people following him around all day at the fests.  I watched Pat Ramsay
> shadowing him in Memphis like a puppy dog, trying to get info.  I don't
> believe Don and Jerry Murad were on speaking terms; I watched them cross
> paths and completely ignore one another.

yeah, that was the deal. George Miklas, Don, and myself would go out after the evening shows to a diner.  Becaus
I had driven a car. Don and I are late birds. We all sat there and mounged down coffee and glazed donuts while Don
 would reminisce the old days. Talk about side splitting. Don had a very dry humor. 

> Mick Zaklan

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