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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mosquito Bar Britches - Harmonica Frank Floyd

Harmonica Frank (October 11, 1908, Toccopola, Mississippi - August 7, 1984, Blanchester, Ohio) was an American blues singer, guitarist and harmonicist. Frank Floyd was the son of itinerant parents who separated without giving him a name. He was raised by his sharecropping grandparents, who died while he was a teenager. He taught himself to play harmonica when he was 10 years old, and he eventually learned guitar. He gave himself the name Frank Floyd, and began performing in the 1920s for traveling carnivals and medicine shows. He learned many types of folk music and became a mimic, effortlessly switching from humorous hillbilly ballads to deep country blues. With his self-taught harmonica technique, he was a one-man band, able to play the instrument without his hands or the need for a neck brace. While also playing guitar, he perfected a technique of manipulating the harmonica with his mouth while he sang out of the other side. He could also play harmonica with his nose and thus play two harmonicas at once, a skill he shared with blues harp players Walter Horton and Gus Cannon's partner Noah Lewis. After years of performing on the medicine-show circuit, Harmonica Frank began working in radio in 1932. His first records were made in 1951, engineered by Sam Phillips in Memphis, Tennessee. The songs, "Swamp Root", "Goin’ Away Walkin'", "Step It Up and Go", "Howlin’ Tomcat", and "She Done Moved", were licensed to Chess Records. Phillips put out another single on Sun Records, "Rockin Chair Daddy"/"The Great Medical Menagerist" in 1954. Harmonica Frank thus became the first white musician to record at that studio. Floyd and Larry Kennon released a shared single, "Rock-A-Little Baby"/"Monkey Love" in 1958, on their own record label, F&L. Harmonica Frank's songs appeared on many all-black blues compilations in the 1960s and 1970s, collectors being unable to distinguish his race. In 1972 he was "rediscovered" by Stephen C. LaVere and in the following years recorded two albums for the Adelphi and Barrelhouse labels, including a compilation of the early material. Additional full albums were recorded before his death in 1984, many of which have become available on CD, though his vintage recordings (1951–59) remain mostly out of print and unavailable aside from occasional tracks on compilations. In his 1975 book Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll Music, author Greil Marcus presented a unique vision of America and music, and how they relate by using (as metaphors) six musicians, one of whom was Harmonica Frank. Frank Floyd died in Blanchester, Ohio on August 7, 1984, due to complications from Type II diabetes (which had previously cost him his leg) and lung cancer. He was survived by his late-life spouse, Frances Kincaide-Pierce-Floyd (she died in June 2008, in Georgetown, Ohio, from natural causes). “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

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