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Howellin’

My throwaway post Harmonica Madness continues to bring people together.

In the post’s comments I mentioned Ken Howell, a fantastic harmonica player I knew. Ken’s grandson Liam left a comment in 2010 and recently Ken’s nephew Steve also left a comment asking Liam to get in touch.

I was able to pass on Liam’s email address to Steve and this morning in my mailbox I received the following email:

Hi Robert,

Just to let you know that Liam has made contact with me which is great!

I want to thank you so much for putting me in touch with family I never knew I had and the interesting information about my Uncle.

Take care and good luck for the future!

Kind regards

Steve

Sometimes it is good to be a silly old blogger.

Harmonica Madness Revisited

Nearly four years ago I made what I thought was a throwaway post featuring a Youtube video of a harmonica band. Since then there have been several comments from guys who starred in the Morton Fraser Harmonica Gang in the 1960s, and their relatives and friends.

Having attended several NHL conventions I know what a weird and quite wonderful collection of people this humble instrument attracts.

The latest comment, from John Jackson only serves to emphasise that I just didn’t know what would happen when I made that original post. The comments section reads like a soap opera! It has revived old memories and reunited old friends.

That one short post makes the whole endeavour of blogging not just worthwhile but an absolute joy.

I’m sure I have posted this clip before but it is great, and well worth a repeat on so many levels. This is the Morton Fraser Gang on the Edmundo Ros show in the infancy of TV.

Mouth Music

I’m the Steinway of strange mischief and mischance;
I’m the Stradivarius of blank defeat;
In the down-world, when the devil leads the dance,
I am simply and symbolically meet;
I’m the irrepressive spirit of mankind;
I’m the small boy playing knuckle down with Death;
At the end of all things known, where God’s rubbish-heap is thrown,
I shrill impudent triumph at a breath.

Robert Service The song of the mouth organ

Little did I realise when I made an almost throwaway post in April 2008 entitled Harmonica Madness which included a Youtube clip of an old harmonica band, that it would attract so much interest. There are several amazing things about this particular post; one is that it took over six months for anyone to comment on it and another is that I received a comment on it last night more than three years after my original posting.

That comment was from Ron Eadie who played at one time with the Morton Fraser Harmonica Gang, who played on stage and TV throughout the fifties and early sixties. Thanks to that posting in April 2008, Ron is now back in touch with Tony Farrow. The two of them played in the Morton Fraser Gang and were great friends. They had lost contact and hadn’t spoken for 45 years! Thanks to a comment on the post by Tony’s partner Ann, I was able to put them in touch. I think others too have found old friends through the posting.

The comments on the post are worth the read. We have a 87 year old (Henry Samuels) who is still regularly gigging and if I’m reading things right, auditioned for America’s Got Talent! There’s references to Tom Jones, Norman Wisdom, Butlins and the pioneering days of TV. One old MF gang member even made a yacht for a James Bond movie!

Anyway I’m genuinely chuffed that this blog has brought old friends together. Here is a Youtube clip of the Morton Fraser Gang in action in the 1950s.

Harmonica Madness

I can find no info on this but I suspect it is probably the Morton Fraser Gang, Borra Minnevitch and the Harmonica Rascals or a similar band. There were many of these harmonica groups from the 1930′s through to the 60′s playing in variety.

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