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

Winslow Yerxa winslowyerxa@xxxxx
Mon Mar 26 16:02:12 EDT 2018

Riddle on his Country Harmonica LP usually alternated between second position diatonic and a chromatic tuned one semitone *below* the key, so that he could swoop up to the target note from one semitone below using slide jabs. Several of the cuts have him switching back and forth in this manner, and that partly explains his choice of keys like Bb (using an A chromatic) even though string players (i.e., his accompanists) aren't generally fond of flat keys.
However, he also played in first position.
Winslow Yerxa
Producer, the Harmonica Collective
Author, Harmonica For Dummies, Second Edition: ISBN 978-1-118-88076-0
            Harmonica Basics For Dummies, ASIN B005KIYPFS
            Blues Harmonica For Dummies, ISBN 978-1-1182-5269-7
Resident Expert, bluesharmonica.comInstructor, Jazzschool Community Music SchoolPresident emeritus, SPAH, the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica 

    On Sunday, March 25, 2018, 3:21:24 PM PDT, David Naiditch <davidnaiditch at xxxxx> wrote:  
 Thanks for enlightening us smo-joe.  Great comments from everyone, but I like those piggies!

> On Mar 25, 2018, at 11:03 AM, 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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