[Harp-L] Jimmy Riddle playing chromatic harmonica on polkas

Peter Sheridan jukejelly@xxxxx
Sun Mar 25 16:32:25 EDT 2018

At present I have only one of Jimmy Riddle's LPs, having lost a couple due
to a "thinning of the herd" house cleaning recently. But it's a good one,
"Country Harmonica" on the Cumberland label, which was a division on
Mercury Records in years past. Though a chromatic harp is shown on the
cover, to my ears several of the tunes appear to be played on diatonic, in
both first and second position. And the "eefen -nanny" effect is present on
a couple, which I feel dilutes some of the real indication of Jimmy's
talent. I picked up this LP many years ago when I was looking for anything
I could find that featured harp playing. Jimmy could play fast, and with
good intonation. He was in my estimation a player who was greatly

Pete Sheridan
Jukester's Harmonica Supplies

On Sun, Mar 25, 2018 at 2:03 PM, Joseph Leone <3N037 at xxxxx> wrote:

> > On Mar 23, 2018, at 10:53 PM, Rick Dempster <rickdempster33 at xxxxx>
> wrote:
> >
> > Love it! But that "Hee Haw" clip is dubbed I'd say. He's in A & E, and
> > unless he's got an A (or E) harp (possible) he couldn't
> > play all that without use of the button, which he does not appear to be
> > doing.
> He’s probably using an A tuned (3 sharps) chromo and switching to G (1
> sharp) to get E (4 sharps).
> And yes, he is using the slide. He uses his thumb most of the time. Hard
> to see with the cupping.
> I agree that this particular clip was dubbed.
> > Anyway, the movement of the harp sems out of sync in general.
> Yes, it does. At least to me. Not in synch. He may have had tape over the
> mouthpiece for the video?
> But it might have been previously recorded?
> > I have Riddle on some old recordings, and like most chrom players back
> then
> > (and not a few now)
> > he plays in first position most if not all then time.
> Mr Riddle was known to use first position. Similar to McCoy who, when he
> did play chromo, used one
> that was tuned IN the tune he was doing. Example: ’T.D’s Boogie’. The
> beginning is done on a G tuned
> chromo. for the first couple bars, then McCoy goes to a C diatonic in
> cross harp (2nd position) with a
> multitude of bends.
> When I was at Ernest’s music store in 75 and showing how I was going to do
> Frosty the Snowman on
> the Ryman Christmas show, Riddle was there listening. He asked me how I
> was able to get a sharp on
> the 5 draw. I told him that I had cut the reed UP one sharp. He nodded his
> head in approval.
> But, all in all, Riddle was an accomplished player nonetheless. Clarinet
> polka isn’t a super difficult tune
> to begin with BUT at the speed he is going, it does take some
> concentration. His piccolinos are the result
> of his ability to do something called: ‘Eefin’. Riddle was over shadowed
> on Hee Haw. I guess because
>  McCoy was musical director for a while, and even HE only played
> occasionally.So didn’t want harmonica
>  to be over exposed.
> And I could have done without the piggies. It only exacerbates the problem
> that harp (in general) is looked
> upon as a toy or Johnny Adventure Jokey Joke instrument. Aaaargh.
> smo-joe
> > Thanks for that.
> > RD
> >
> > On 24 March 2018 at 03:59, Gary Lehmann <gnarlyheman at xxxxx> wrote:
> >
> >> The Jethro Burns of the harmonica!
> >> Don't get me started on eefin . . .
> >>
> >> On Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 1:16 PM, David Naiditch <
> davidnaiditch at xxxxx
> >>>
> >> wrote:
> >>
> >>> A fiddler recently told me about Jimmy Riddle playing chromatic
> harmonica
> >>> on Clarinet Polka with fiddler Howdy Forrester. I’ve always enjoyed the
> >>> sound of fiddle and harmonica.  This is the only tune on this MGM album
> >>> that features Jimmy. (I've been hearing this polka played for years at
> >>> fiddle competitions and festivals.)
> >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W_85umzOqs <https://www.youtube.com/
> >>> watch?v=8W_85umzOqs>
> >>>
> >>> Here is another example of Jimmy Riddle playing a polka—Jesse Polka--on
> >>> chromatic. Love those dancing pigs.
> >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpfiwMVR6ls <https://www.youtube.com/
> >>> watch?v=TpfiwMVR6ls>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>

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