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Preface: The harmonica has long been a good friend to many folk and blues musicians. It is a rather simple instrument, but is capable of being manipulated to serve a wide range of musical purposes. This week we will explore some of the memorable harmonica perfomances from the blues and folk-related corners of the classic rock era.
Monday (7/23/07): Fleetwood Mac - Looking For Somebody [Fleetwood Mac (a.k.a. Dog and Dustbin), 1968]
Comments: Peter Green takes a break from guitar and lays down some tastefully understated harmonica licks over top a stone cold groove care of Fleetwood and McVie.
Tuesday (7/24/07): The Yardbirds - I Wish You Would [Five Live Yardbirds, 1964]
Comments: Keith Relf's insistent harmonica riff drives this blues tune, which was also the Yardbirds' first single.
Wednesday (7/25/07): J. Geils Band - Whammer Jammer [Full House (Live), 1972]
Comments: Mr. Magic Dick wets his lickin' stick on this full-forced harmonica explosion. Muddy Waters is rumored to have once said of Magic Dick, "if that white boy eats pussy like he blows harp, he's a motherfucker!" (Happy Hump Day).
Thursday (7/26/07): John Mayall - Room To Move [Turning Point (Live), 1969]
Comments: John Mayall ditches the Bluesbreakers for a more natural approach on his 1969 live album. He gets down hard and fast on one of the quintessential harmonica songs of all time, Room To Move.
Friday (7/27/07): The Paul Butterfield Blues Band - Screamin' [The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, 1965]
Comments: Blues harp virtuoso Paul Butterfield manages to keep up with Bloomfield's stinging guitar licks on this aptly-titled (even without vocals) instrumental track from the band's debut album.
Saturday (7/28/07): Bob Dylan - Man Of Constant Sorrow [Bob Dylan, 1962]
Comments: A 20-year old Bob Dylan dishes out the real folk blues on his unique and powerful debut album, utilizing what would soon become the "voice of a generation" to wail like a banshee on a collection of depressing blues tunes, mostly about death. In Man Of Constant Sorrow, Dylan displays his inimitable talent on the harmonica in the form of an idiosyncratic harp lead.
Sunday (7/29/07): Neil Young - The Bridge [Time Fades Away, 1973]
Comments: For all those who were expecting Heart of Gold, I give you...The Bridge! From Neil Young's never-released-on-CD live album featuring all new songs: Time Fades Away. Neil creates a mellow mood on this song and his melancholic harmonica lead enhances the atmosphere.