Harmonica Almanac – May 25
Country harmonica pioneer Dr. Humphrey Bate was born on this day in 1875. Bate learned how to play the harmonica from former slaves who worked on his father’s plantation. By 1917 he was playing in three bands as well as maintaining his medical practice. He was with the Grand Old Opry from it’s beginning and was responsible for bringing Deford Bailey onto the show.
Country autoharp player Ernest “Pop” Stoneman was the head of a large musical family. He played several instruments, including the harmonica. Stoneman was born on this day in 1893.
Americana harmonica player Mark Graham has studied many different styles of American Folk harmonica and incorporates them into his music. He’s recorded several albums and is based out of the Seattle area. Mark was born on this day in 1953.
Blues guitar and harmonica player “Harmonica” Mike Handler was born on this day in 1947. Mike has been playing since 1965 and currently plays with Marc & Mike’s Country Blues Revue, based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The band has several CD’s and has won several major awards.
Blues harmonica legend Sonny Boy Williamson II died on this day in 1965. Williamson began playing the harmonica when he was five and was playing professionally by the time he was nine. During his career he worked with dozens of Blues giants and during the late 50’s and early 60’s he recorded dozens of albums. In 1963 he toured Europe and used the Yardbirds and the Animals as his back-up bands when he played England.
That’s it for today. Have fun and practice!