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Here are some great ideas for your Christmas or birthday present wish list. To purchase any of the following, click on the link and you will be taken to a site like Amazon where you can buy online at good prices and (usually) fast delivery.
John Mayall's 70th Birthday Party, with the Bluesbreakers, Mick Taylor, Eric Clapton, and Chris Barber. One of the first of the pioneering British blues generation. John played harmonica from the start.
John Mayall's 70th Birthday Party
Howling Wolf. Muddy Waters, Little Walter.
Howling Wolf DVD
Martin Scorsese Presents - The Blues. Seven feature-length films as seen on BBC4, plus extra material on the DVDs. Some have harmonica footage but they are really about the blues. These are all European Region 2 format DVDs, and they are discounted to £11:40 each at the time of writing.
Click on the link to buy the individual DVDs from Amazon.
Harmonicas, Harps and Heavy Breathers - The Evolution of the Peopleís Instrument, by Kim Field.
This is the best history book of the instrument, viewed through the players and groups who used it to play country, blues, popular, classical music, and jazz. Full of interviews and commentaries.
To buy this book, click here - Harmonicas, Harps and Heavy Breathers: Kim Field
The Encyclopedia of the Harmonica by Peter Krampert. Pub. Mel Bay.
This is exactly what it says on the cover. Peter updates it all the time and the latest edition has much more European content. It covers players of all styles, giving biographic detail as well as a selective discography.
The Encyclopedia of the Harmonica
Larry Adlerís most famous musical composition was for the film Genevieve. This has just been released as a Special Edition DVD which has extra footage of Larry talking about the music he wrote for the film.
Genevieve Special Edition DVD
Blues Odyssey - A Journey to Musicís Heart and Soul, by Bill Wyman. Pub. Dorling Kindersley.
Great information laid out in a clear and attractive format, plus lots of new images. Researched and written by a real enthusiast.
There is also a double CD of early blues artists covered in the book, and a fantastic DVD of Billís own journey into the blues with lots of vintage footage and interviews.
Book - Blues Odyssey by Bill Wyman
Double CD - Blues Odyssey by Bill Wyman
DVD, PAL version - Blues Odyssey by Bill Wyman
My first exposure to the bigger US blues community came with the American Folk Blues Festivals. Groups of artists toured Europe as package from 1962. including harmonica players like Sonny Boy, Williamson, Sonny Terry, Big Walter, and Junior Wells. I have the original LP but two DVDs have just been released using unique live footage recorded by German TV.
The American Folk Blues Festival DVD: Vol 1. PAL version
The American Folk Blues Festival DVD: Vol 2. PAL version
One of the best CD issues of the year is the triple CD Blowing the Blues - A History of Blues Harmonica 1926-2002, issued on Indigo - IGOTCH 2536. Seventy one tracks of history for about £12.
Blowing the Blues
Blues with a Feeling. A detailed life story of Little Walter and his music by three experienced blues writers and researchers, including Tony Glover, the writer of the first of the blues harmonica tuition book in the 1960s. It has lots of the atmosphere of Chicago in the 1950s, and has a very extensive discography of recording where Little Walter played.
Blues with a Feeling.
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Bookmark and revisit http://harmonica.co.uk for the latest details of these and other events.
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