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Welcome to ‘Harmonica Riff’

Harmonica RiffThis site explores the possibilities and pleasures of jamming on the diatonic harmonica. I have been playing the diatonic harmonica since I was 14 years of age. My father first taught me the basics, by showing me how to get the basic notes of do re mi fa so la ti do in order to play South African folk songs like SARIE MARAIS. I discovered that once the basic technique was mastered of producing whole notes or chords under control you had at your disposal a compact and extremely portable instrument which you could use with the same dexterity as the human voice.

Once I had discovered how to play harmonies in first or second position I was on a roll. I soon was playing in bands and ultimately formed my own band ‘Blue And Beyond‘. Even though I play guitar the harmonica is definitely my first instrument. What ‘Harmonica Riff’ aims to do is reel in the wealth of material out on the internet and organise it into logical steps, so that anyone can enjoy jamming for pleasure to their favourite bands while improving their playing. There is a wealth of material already out there on explicit technique, but since the harmonica sounds different from player to player, I believe it is more important to show and develop your own style rather than desparately trying to carbon copy the great players.

John Tribe

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  • Big Road Blues Show 7/26/15: Blues All In My Bread – Blues At Home Pt. 1
    Show Notes: As anyone who's listened to this program knows, I have a huge interest in field recordings devoting several shows to the topic and interviewing several of the men who made the recordings.  The 70's and early 80's were a good period for field recordings with men like George Mitchell, David Evans, Pete Lowry, […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 7/12/15: Jumpin' in the Mornin' – Blues From Atlantic Records Pt. 2 1950-1953
    Show Notes: My two-part feature on Atlantic Records was partly inspired by a terrific reissue series that was originally issued in the early 1970's. In the early 70's Pete Lowry convinced Atlantic founder Ahmet Ertegun to reissue some classic and previously unissued blues from the vaults (read the article below for more background). The plan […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 7/5/15: Rock The House – Blues From Atlantic Records Pt. 1 1947-1950
    Show Notes: My two-part feature on Atlantic Records was partly inspired by a terrific reissue series that was originally issued in the early 1970's. In the early 70's Pete Lowry convinced Atlantic founder Ahmet Ertegun to reissue some classic and previously unissued blues from the vaults. The plan was to issue twelve albums although only […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 6/21/15: Mix Show
    Show Notes:  Read Liner Notes I originally had a theme show planned for today but found out that the station will be using some of my time for live remotes of the Rochester Jazz Festival. Despite the shortened airtime a good show today including some fine down home blues from the 60's and 70's, several […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 6/7/15: I Heard the Angels Singing – The Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
    Show Notes: In Ian Zack's new book, Say No to the Devil: The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis, Zack calls Davis "arguably the greatest of all the blues-based guitarists to record before World War II" and the "…remained, up until the last years of his life, one of the world’s greatest, if […]