hi all summers here & the time is right for dancing in the streets. or listenin to that summer music. have been gettin a big dose lately here in denver. cherry crk arts festival, highlands ranch music nite, and just went to red rocks last sunday nite to see rodriguo and gabriella play stellar flamenco. ooh yeah! they tore it down and burned it up! it rained that day but cleared up that nite, and then yours truly danced up a storm!
also just saw a documentary on the ps3 sony store on rihanna. oh yeah I got tickets! and p!nk is comin to town too, got tickets for that also! instead of goin thru a midlife crisis decided to just dance a lot!
I started playing the harmonica in my early 20s, roughly senior yr of college, and have had various miniadventures looking for bands, sometimes auditioning, and playing with guitarists, and years ago at various open stage nites at bars, clubs, coffeeshops. there are often guitarists and street musicians at downtown denver, and many are willing to play. have met and played with some wild characters over the yrs.
the sig other was on vac for 6wks a few wks ago & I had a chance to go downtown & play a bit with two different musicians in the same nite. after rollerblading downtown. yowza! another time I was rollerblading home in the evening & heard a blues band playing. it was raging house party in a nice section of town, & they had a great and standout harmonica player. I sat in somebody's lawn in the dark & listened to the juicy notes fill and waft through the air and people went by walking their dogs & looking at me sideways with curiosity.
there is a special "acstatic" microphone that goes really well with harmonicas because of its distinct harmonics and can be heard in many famous songs, think the "harmonicist" in that band had one. yrs ago another player at an open stage nite at a bar on 38th ave offered to sell me one for something like $50 but I never did follow up on that. he said he played & toured with smokin joe walsh! holy cow!
strangely, I realized belatedly after starting playing harmonica that some of my favorite rock & pop songs heard in my teens had harmonica on them. had picked up on the sound as cool/neat sounding in younger yrs but didnt identify it further in my youth. its distinctive and yeah many people recognize the sound but might not realize that its actually a harmonica laying it out. I retroactively started listening to songs with my new "harmonica ear" and made mental note of my favorite songs that used it and found a new dimension to appreciate in old classics & favorites.
it sometime sounds fairly close to an electric guitar wail. in fact I tend to think it usually goes much better with acoustic guitar because of the distinctive harmonics of the harmonica then dont clash with the "nearby" harmonics of the acoustic guitar. a pattern often in songs with both electric guitar & harmonica: the two trade off, such that one "backs off" while the other plays. also because of its sometimes strong and dominating voice, the harmonica rarely plays at the same time as a vocalist; in this way its similar to brass sections [horn, saxaphone, etc]. it took me many yrs to figure out this "musical/jam ettiquete" sometimes by [sometimes embarrassing] fumbling & trial and error.
hope you enjoy this list & the music. it would be cool to hyperlink all these songs but that would be super tricky because theres no single good site for that [itunes? a small miracle if they're all there]. most of these all have huge raging harmonica parts & solos, and if not that at least a distinct harmonica voice at some pt, that really show off the diverse possibilities of the instrument. these are roughly in reverse order to my all time most favorite, and also the relative prominence of the harmonica parts, from minor fills to raging blowouts. there are some amazing virtuoso players in here.
- desire - U2
- smoking in the boys room - motley crue
- runaway - bonnie raitt
- train - blackfoot
- missionary man - eurythmics
- life is a highway - tom cochrane
- the heart of rock & roll - huey lewis & the news
- roadhouse blues - the doors
- I feel for you - chaka khan
- sneakin sally through the alley - robert palmer
- when the levee breaks - led zeppelin
- what I like about you - romantics
- school/long way home - supertramp
- hook/runaround - blues traveller
- gimme shelter - rolling stones
- whammer jammer - j.geils band
- suicide blonde - INXS
- long train running - doobie brothers
- middle of the road - chrissie hynde and the pretenders
- nobody's fault but mine - led zeppelin