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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 4/20/14: Mix Show
    Show Notes: All kinds of interesting records on deck today including a couple of sets devoted to guitarist Floyd Murphy and harmonica blower Bud Spires who recently passed. We spin quite a number of tracks from some great out-of-print records, a twin spin of Gatemouth Moore, some fine early harmonica blues, a batch of great […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 4/13/14: On The Road Again – Adelphi Records
    Show Notes: Liner Notes: Pt. 1 – Pt. 2 – Pt. 3 - Pt. 4 - Pt. 5 – Pt. 6 Liner Notes: Pt.1 – Pt. 2 - Pt. 3 – Pt. 4 – Pt. 5 – Pt. 6 I've been meaning to get around to the Adelphi label, a fine label that issued a […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 4/6/14: That's No Way To Get Along – Robert Wilkins & Friends
    Show Notes: Read Liner Notes (preview) Read Liner Notes   Robert Wilkins cut one of the great albums of the blues revival, Memphis Gospel Singer recorded in 1964 for the Piedmont label and now finally issued issued on CD as Prodigal Son by Bear Family. Around 1964 Dick Spottswood, who had been instrumental in finding […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 3/30/14: Got Nobody To Tell My Troubles – Detroit Greats 1949-1977
    Show Notes: During and after World War II a second wave of migration took place with many people leaving the South to work in the industrial North, and Detroit became the home to many fine blues artists. While earlier artists such as Big Maceo Merriweather had to travel to Chicago to record, new record companies […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 3/23/14: Hard Times Ain't Gone No Where – The Year 1937
    Show Notes: Today’s show is the eleventh installment of an ongoing series of programs built around a particular year. The first year we spotlighted was 1927 which was the beginning of a blues boom that would last until 1930; there were just 500 blues and gospel records issued in 1927 and increase of fifty percent […]