[Harp-L] HARMONICA on the big stage....Graham McClelland

Richard Hunter rhunter377@xxxxx
Fri May 17 11:30:53 EDT 2019

 Mike Best wrote:
<Wow. I?m really sorry to see this kind of smackdown on harp-l. I don?t
know who <Franze the original poster is or whether he posts regularly, but
I?m sure he will think <twice next time
<For what it?s worth I?ve seen Graham McClelland and his band Blue Shaddy
play a <few times. Ok so he?s not the most polished player in the world,
but he generates the <kind of energy and excitement from the crowd that
most of us who play on stage can <only dream about

In response to this comment from me:
> Franze wrote:
> <Amazing blues harp ending ?
> <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FZgd4s-260
> What makes it amazing?  He's got the harp in his mouth, and he's huffing
> and puffing as fast and loud as he can.  Literally anyone who owns a
> harmonica can do exactly the same and get exactly the same result.

Not the most polished player in the world?  No kidding.

If you're out in the public eye, you can expect people to express opinions
about what you do there.  I've had plenty of bad reviews in my time.  Some
of them were accurate, and I learned from them.  Sometimes it was painful
to learn.  But if nobody had reviewed my work, positively or otherwise, I
wouldn't have learned a thing.

I don't dispute that this guy is connecting with his audience, and I don't
have a problem with that.  The fact that he plays like s--- doesn't mean
much in that context.  Plenty of people who play harmonica worse than
him--Alanis Morissette springs immediately to mind--have connected with
their audiences too.  So fine where all that's concerned.  I'm all for
performers connecting with the audience.

But he does, in fact, play like s---, and I have no compunctions about
saying so.  Part of my remit as a serious musician is helping less
experienced players know the difference between crap and cream, and to that
end I spend a lot of time listening and promoting the work of harmonica
players that I consider to be capable practitioners of the art.  The other
side of that is calling out crap when I hear it.  It's not my job or my
inclination to applaud everyone who puts a harmonica in their mouth. Most
people are better off not putting the thing in their mouths in public until
they know how to play it, and I don't mind saying so.

I'll be as happy as anyone else when this guy puts in the time and effort
needed to play competently.  In the meantime, if he can't be bothered to
learn how to play, I can't be bothered to applaud.

Try listening to the video without watching the picture and see if you're
still so excited by what he's doing.  Frankly, I couldn't wait for it to
end, and I wouldn't listen to it twice unless somebody tied me to a chair
and put headphones over my ears.

In short, this guy's obvious incompetence is not my problem, it's his, and
if he wants to be celebrated for his harmonica playing skills, as opposed
to his showmanship or his singing or his songwriting or whatever else he
does, he can learn to play the harmonica.

Finally, I don't apologize for calling them the way I see them.  Ever.  How
people react is up to them.  I don't apologize for that either.

Regards, Richard Hunter

Check out Richard Hunter's 21st Century rock harmonica masterpiece "The
Lucky One" at https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/richardhunter

Author, "Jazz Harp" (Oak Publications, NYC)
Latest mp3s and harmonica blog at http://hunterharp.com
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