Vox Populi

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Video: Big Mama Thornton and John Lee Hooker — “Down Home Shakedown”

1960 harmonica jam session. If you love the blues, this performance is not to be missed.

The harmonica, also called French harp, blues harp, and mouth organ, was developed in Europe in the early part of the 19th century based on the sheng, a common East Asian instrument. Harmonicas were heard on a handful of recordings in the early 1900s, generally labeled as a “Mouth Organ”. The first jazz or traditional music recordings of harmonicas were made in the U.S. in the mid-1920s. These recordings are ‘race-records’, intended for the black market of the southern states with solo recordings by DeFord Bailey, duo recordings with a guitarist Hammie Nixon, Walter Horton, Sonny Terry, as well as hillbilly styles recorded for white audiences, by Frank Hutchison, Gwen Foster and several other musicians. There are also recordings featuring the harmonica in jug bands, of which the Memphis Jug Band is the most famous. But the harmonica still represented a toy instrument in those years and was associated with the poor. The harmonica was carried by black migrants to the north, mainly to Chicago but also Detroit, St. Louis, and New York. By 1960 when this video of Big Mama Thornton and John Lee Hooker (better known as a guitarist) was recorded, the harmonica was well established as a standard blues instrument.

Adapted from Wikipedia

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This entry was posted on February 20, 2015 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , .

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