March 26, 2021
It is astonishing to think that a roots music form that evolved from the field hollers and spirituals of African-American workers over 100 years ago, is still alive and thriving today.
African slaves brought their musical traditions with them when they were transported to the North American colonies. Slaves sang work songs on the plantations and spirituals in church. These musical styles laid the foundation for the Blues. Most early Blues musicians were descended from slaves. A solo singer would be accompanied on guitar or piano sometimes with the addition of harmonica or drums.
Originating in the Mississippi Delta in the 1920s, this was one of the earliest styles of blues music. It was popularised by Bessie Smith and Robert Johnson. The area was particularly poverty stricken; plantation owners keeping their workers in harsh conditions. Traditional songs were handed down by word of mouth and old lyrics adapted and turned into new ones. Guitar and harmonica accompanied vocals as they were easy to carry.
Harmonicas have a long association with the Blues with many illustrious players:- Big Walter Horton, Sonny Boy Williamson1, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Big Mama Thornton, Snooky Pryor, George Smith. Lead Belly and Blind Lemon Jefferson to name but a few.
Most famous among Blues Harp players are Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson II. Sonny Boy II played his harp with fierce tenderness and soul. From intense wailing through to a mournful tremolo, his soaring, swooping notes sum up the Blues.
Born Marion Walter Jacobs in Marksville, Louisiana, he is credited with inventing Chicago Blues Harp pioneering a sound never before imagined. Little Walter went electric’ transforming the humble mouth organ into a blaring ‘Mississippi saxophone’. He perfected the sound of unadulterated Blues played through a mic and amp for a raw, distorted, gritty, phat sound.
If the legacy of Little Walter’s ‘Holy Grail’ Blues sound is what you’ve been striving for, your dream is about to be realised. The Kinubi PSV harmonica effects pedal can raise your sound to new heights helping you reach another level. The PSV brings you closer to that authentic sound than individual pedals have ever been able to do, letting you reproduce the sleazy, Chicago sound you’ve been searching for. With your technique and the PSV you can recreate the smokin’, scorchin’ sound from the Juke joints of the 1930’s.
Eric Clapton called the Blues ‘a very powerful drug’. Prepare to become addicted to the sound of Chicago Blues delivered to you through your PSV harp pedal.
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April 16, 2021
Here is the scene where Hobo John first encounters Jacob onstage at a Juke Joint:
“I looked over at Travellin’ Man, his eyes closed and his feet stamping as he nodded his head to the beat. Next to him, Jacob stared at me, pulled a harmonica from his bandolier and raised his eyebrow. I nodded imperceptibly as I did my best to honour the song by one of the finest slide players ever recorded. “Nobody’s fault but mine”
April 09, 2021