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Ron Jeremy, a not terribly tiny pianist and a harmonica man

If you heard about the 7" record released for Record Store Day, "Understanding and Appreciating Classical Music with Ron Jeremy," you know Ron Jeremy plays piano with some level of proficiency and flair, and you could probably guess that he throws some crass humor into his act (yes, that's his favorite classical music/pianist joke, he drops it a lot). Ron f*cknig Jeremy also blows the harmonica (NSFW words and vaguely unsafe images), and shares his love of Christian worship music with a fairly rough rendition of Amazing Grace on the harmonica. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 3, 2014 - 17 comments

Blooooop bleeee blooop blop! These are the sounds of enrichment.

A bunch of otters jam on a Casio. An orangutan plays a xylophone with a banana. A sloth bear toots some harmonica. These are all a part of the National Zoo's environmental enrichment efforts, not unlike getting your cat some food balls and cat shelves. [more inside]
posted by ignignokt on May 30, 2014 - 31 comments

Magnificent obsessions

Jay Raymond collects irons. Until 2007 he collected only streamlined irons: In the U.S. this meant irons made between 1932 and 1952. In 2007 he sold that collection of about 180 irons, and he now collects electric irons made between 1890-1925.
Alan Davies collects old bricks.
Rev Doug Dawson owns about 900 harmonicas.
Shaun Kotlarsky collects electrical and telegraph insulators. He has about 2,000 of them.
Bob Manning collects Mickey Mouse ties. [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Nov 13, 2012 - 29 comments

Noah Lewis, blowin' that harp

The year was 1929, and Noah Lewis was blowing the hell outta the harmonica. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 19, 2011 - 7 comments

Snap, Crackle, Rattle and Hum.

40 Noises That Built Pop [parts 234]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Sep 7, 2011 - 79 comments

Listen to the whole song, dummy!

I always loved the Quincy Jones-composed theme song to 70s sitcom Sanford and Son, but up until a few minutes ago I'd never heard the entire piece: three minutes and six seconds of delightfully infectious, playfully bright instrumental pop-funk. It's called The Streetbeater, and its creative and ever-changing arrangement includes snippets of the rarely heard bass harmonica. The piece is just a hella lotta fun. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 6, 2011 - 70 comments

DeFord Bailey, American musician

Within that small and very specific sub-genre of musical Americana identifiable as the train imitation, there is one amazing performance, from 1926, that set the standard: Pan-American Blues. The man who recorded it did a fine and fanciful job of evoking the sounds of a fox chase as well, and his rhythmically compelling solo rendition of John Henry stands as testament to the potential for musical greatness achievable by one man and a humble harmonica. He was an African-American who was a founding member of the Grand Ole Opry, a musical institution that we rarely (as in, never) today associate with black people, and his touching and tragic story, documented here, is one that will be of interest to those concerned with the racial, economic and socio-cultural history of American popular music. He stands at one of its more unexpected intersections: his name is DeFord Bailey. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 30, 2010 - 15 comments

Blues Maker

I lost my little [noun]
I lost my [adjective] girl too
I [verb] just everything
So [adjective] I messed with you

Create your own song of sadness and regret with the Blues Maker.
posted by gottabefunky on Dec 9, 2010 - 25 comments

Sxip! Pronounced Skip!

Sxip Shirey makes beautiful music out of marbles, toy whistles, music boxes held together with duct tape, antique kitchen utensils, industrial flutes and other people’s mouths. Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer made him an instrument called the Sxipenspiel. He does things to harmonicas that you might not expect to happen to harmonicas. He lives in New York City. Sometimes he stays up very, very late.
posted by jennyjenny on Jun 13, 2010 - 14 comments

The Mississippi Saxophone

The Steinway of Harmonicas. [more inside]
posted by timsteil on Mar 21, 2010 - 24 comments

Heaven doesn't need a harmonica player yet.

After his ninth heart surgery, Mackie's doctors had him on 15 different medicines. But the side effects made life miserable. So one day he quit taking all 15 and decided to spend his final days doing something he always wanted to do. He used the money he would have spent on the prescriptions to give away 300 harmonicas, with lessons included. "I really thought it was the last thing I could ever do," he says. [more inside]
posted by 445supermag on May 1, 2009 - 26 comments

Mountain Bluegrass

Music in the Digital Library of Appalachia provides an unprecedented resource for study of repertoire, technique, lore, and the musical interchanges among the region's traditional musicians. Once you know what you like, it's easy to find the music live with Blue Ridge Music Trails. Meet musicians who have grown up with that music, visit settings in which Blue Ridge folk music thrives, see traditional dancing, and in many cases, take part in the festivities. The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, winds through the mountains of Southwest Virginia. Along the trail, the Bluegrass, Old Time, and Traditional Country music is as beautiful and rugged as the landscape itself. [previous 1, 2]
posted by netbros on Mar 8, 2009 - 12 comments

The Hoodoo Man

"He was one bad dude, strutting across the stage like a harp-toting gangster, mesmerizing the crowd with his tough-guy antics and rib-sticking Chicago blues attack." - All Music Guide. He was also a sharp-dressing mofo who, at the end of his storied life, was buried in "his creaseless sky-blue silk suit and matching homburg, a shiny trove of harmonicas laid out beside him, a pint of gin nestled nearby to ease his journey home". In the opinion of many, he was the greatest blues harmonica player of all time. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 22, 2009 - 13 comments

A hellish cacophony, as if a herd of dinosaurs were roaring between bursts of artillery fire

Pyrophones are organs where the notes are sounded via explosions or other forms of combustion. Often beautiful just to look at, they also make otherwordly noises (open up all these links at once for a real wake-up). Unlike other fire-based instruments, they can even play recognizeable melodies. Here's how to make one. They've become quite popular at events (7 MB video, more videos) like Burning Man, but they've been around since the 17-1800's. If you're new to experimental instruments, a read/listen through Gravikords, Whirlies and Pyrophones should be your next stop. Related: chemical harmonica, burning harmonica, singing tubes. [via & prev.]
posted by jessamyn on Jan 4, 2009 - 29 comments

That ain't doubling on flute. This is doubling on flute.

Two flutes at once. Two guitars at once. (Honorable mentions.) Two recorders at once, 100% nose-powered. Two trumpets at once (breakdown at three).Two harps at once. Two saxophones at once. (Bonus: Clarinet/sax unos.) [more inside]
posted by No-sword on Aug 6, 2008 - 18 comments

A tale of two Sonny Boys

It's just gotta make you feel so good to hear (and see) Sonny Boy Williamson sing and blow the harp. Keep in mind, of course, this is Sonny Boy Williamson II we're talking about here. Yes, there were two harp-blowing Sonny Boys, and here's a documentary on the legendary Sonny Boy the first: Part 1 and Part 2. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 3, 2008 - 11 comments

High Sheriff on my heels. I better get on my way, yes!

The full length of Tom Davenport's "Born for Hard Luck" featuring Peg Leg Sam, the last of the great medicine show singers/dancers/musicians. [more inside]
posted by 1f2frfbf on May 8, 2008 - 4 comments

Little Walter makes it to heaven

Little Walter ushered into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame As I heard about the entry of Madonna, Leonard Cohen, the Ventures and the Dave Clark 5 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yesterday, one name way at the end of the list brought music to my ears. Little Walter Jacobs was only the best blues harmonica player ever to come out of Chicago from the Delta. Ever. Period. He has influenced everyone you every thought was a good blues harmonica player. [more inside]
posted by fellene on Mar 11, 2008 - 11 comments

KudzuRunner's Blow Out Harmonica Lessons Sale - 'Folks, He's Giving Away The Store!!!'

Well respected as a player, instructor and scholar, Adam Gussow teaches blues harmonica online at Modern Blues Harmonica. For a fee.
On YouTube, as KudzuRunner, he also gives lessons. For free. He's put up around 145 videos now--145 videos with like about a million hits in return...
via Tom Muck's Blog
posted by y2karl on Mar 7, 2008 - 12 comments

Borrah Minnevitch and His Harmonica School

Borrah Minevitch & His Harmonica Rascals - Harmonica Specialty and Rascal Bill McBride's vocal turn on Always In My Heart are excerpts from Borrah Minevitch & His Harmonica School--a wmv video file of a Vitaphone Short which with no surprise we find at Vitaphone Shorts, a subsection of Dr. Macro's High Quality Movie Scans--which was first brought to our attention by the noble crunchland, albeit at another and now defunct URL, let it be noted. . [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Jan 24, 2008 - 5 comments

Lots of free acoustic music lessons!

MusicMoose wants "to provide the world with free, useful music lessons, and a community based site to help back it all up." The site contains hundreds of free video music lessons (often containing notation and/or tablature) with a distinct focus on acoustic and bluegrass music, all taught by some pretty badass pickers (including the astonishingly good mandolin shredder Anthony Hannigan). There are also obligatory but very useful forums. Takeaway: the whole thing is free and you don't have to register to watch the lessons.
posted by kosem on Jun 29, 2007 - 15 comments

Ben's bowls

At one time or another you've probably rubbed your finger along the rim of a glass to produce a note. In 1761 Ben Franklin took the idea further with the invention of the glass (h)armonica. The instrument enjoyed some popularity, but is believed to have caused health problems due to lead content in the glass. Performers complained of loss of feeling in their hands, some even suffered nervous breakdowns. People became very frightened of the armonica, and by 1830 it was all but extinct. But there's been some renewal of interest: they're being played, and they're being made. You can play a surprisingly good-sounding virtual version. Or listen to a charming rendition of a seasonally appropriate tune. [more links inside] Oh, and: [previously]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 23, 2006 - 15 comments

Mel Lyman: The Harmonica Player Who Became God

Mel Lyman 1938-1978. Mel Lyman was controversial. He was the brilliant folk musician who soothed the Dylan-ruffled crowd at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, the Fort Hill guru whose prose in the undergound newspaper Avatar shocked conservative Bostonians of the late 60s... Many years of collecting, and help from numerous people has resulted in the large collection of articles reproduced here. Some say Lyman was God... others that he was a devil... but most of these articles show him as a charismatic individual somewhere between those two extremes. An exhaustively authoritative page about a very interesting harmonica player who became God. And, man, does this bring back the 60s...(Details within)
posted by y2karl on Mar 24, 2002 - 21 comments

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