[Harp-L] Happy 91st birthday to the overblow!

captron100@xxxxx captron100@xxxxx
Tue Oct 13 13:15:04 EDT 2020

Happy 91st birthday to the 1st ever recorded overblow! Acc. to the fantastic harmonica info website, www.patmissin.com/ffaq/q40.html: On Oct. 13, 1929, James Simons, a relatively obscure harmonica player from Norfolk, VA, went into a studio in Richmond set up by the Okeh Company and recorded two jazz-influenced instrumentals accompanied by an unknown piano player. These were issued as Okeh 8244 under the name Blues Birdhead, with some later reissues using the name Harmonica Tim. One of these tunes, “Mean Low Blues”, features the first recorded example of the technique commonly known as "overblow". The recording makes it sound as though the piece is in F#. As Simons is playing in first position and low F# harps were not readily available back then, it is likely that the tune was in G (a much more piano-friendly key) and has somehow got slowed down in the recording process. Wanna hear it? Listen closely - it's only one note. The OB is on 6 hole blow at 0:47/0:48 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzvjZPHYfyU . Ron - FL Keys, USA

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