The first recordings of harmonica blues were made in the 1920s by musicians from the Deep South in the USA. Among the most renowned artists of this genre was DeFord Bailey from Tennessee, nicknamed “The Harmonica Wizard”. Through his appearances on the widely heard “Grand Ole Opry” radio show, he influenced many younger musicians like Sonny Terry from North Carolina.
The harmonica became a popular instrument in blues because it was affordable, portable and capable of producing “blue notes”. From the 1950s on, a “blues harp” was part of almost every Chicago Blues band. Among the most famous harmonica players were Sonny Boy Williamson I, Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller), Little Walter Jacobs and Big Walter Horton. Martin Feldmann of Frankfurt, Germany, took the photos in this wall calendar during the 1980s in America, Germany and the Netherlands.
The picture on this page shows Little Hatch aka Provine Hatch Jr. (1921–2001) in front of the Grand Emporium in Kansas City, Missouri, taken in 1988. Already in 1970, the German blues fan Hartmut M. Münnich had recorded a live performance of this harmonica player and his friends with basic equipment. With his German friend Fritz Marschall he released the album “The Little Hatchet Band” on M & M Records, now a collector’s item.
The front cover of this calendar features Carey Bell from Chicago. The gig was in the Siegerlandhalle, Siegen, Germany, during the European tour of the American Folk Blues Festival 1981.
(Text: Martin Feldmann)