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Harmonica bands

09 Aug 01 - 10:37 AM (#524273)
Subject: Harmonica bands
From: Steve Parkes

I thought of bringing this up in the Max Geldray thread, but I thought it was too far from the subject. (Besides, I don't want to upset Roger, too much excitement would be bad for him!)

Harmonica bands used to be fairly common in the fifties and early sixties. If memory serves, there was one called The Harmonica Gentlemen, who included a (real? fake) Chinaman, who at the end of their closing nuber would wave three fingers in the air and shout "one more time!" Ah, we were easy to entertain in those days! Then there were The Harmonica Kings. (The Four Kings? Of course, I might have these names completely wrong; it was a long time ago!) The Kings had a big bloke with a beard, called ... it's on the tip of my tongue ... He looked very tough; he was quite tall and well-built, but he really camped it up, with an affected high-pitched voice and a lisp--and a name to match.

I wonder what became of them?


09 Aug 01 - 11:12 AM (#524305)
Subject: RE: Harmonica bands
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler

Thanks, (wheeze), Steve, for your consideration. There was Borra Minevich mentioned in the Geldray and Adler threads and the Morton Frazer Harmonica Gang who used to feature on variety bills (Yes, I remember variety!) and others whose names I've forgotten. Usually there was a person of restricted growth who played an exaggeratedly large harmonica and a big guy who played the glh (great little harp). BTW ,on the Goons tribute programme Max's role was played by Harry Pitch who is still active with jazz and big bands in S.E. England.
Ooops, too much excitement, NURSE, the screens!

09 Aug 01 - 12:19 PM (#524360)
Subject: RE: Harmonica bands
From: Steve Parkes

Thnaks Roger. You remember Arthur Tolcher on the Morcambe & Wise show? "Not now, Arthur!" He was a genuwine gob-iron player; he came from Bloxwich, just down the road from the place I was born, and a couple of roads from where I lived for years. Everybody played a mouth organ in those days, even my Mom (she can even whistle--very unusual to find musical talent in a woman!)


09 Aug 01 - 01:00 PM (#524382)
Subject: RE: Harmonica bands
From: Barry T

I remember a record by Richard Heyman (spelling?) and his harmonica orchestra. Even on 12 inch LP that was some sound!

09 Aug 01 - 01:27 PM (#524404)
Subject: RE: Harmonica bands
From: M.Ted

Richard Heyman was responsible for those clean, catchy arrangements played by Jerry Murad and the Harmonicats--he went on to do many other, non-harmonica related things, including writing arrangements for the Boston Pops--

09 Aug 01 - 02:05 PM (#524438)
Subject: RE: Harmonica bands
From: Lonesome EJ

copied from an old thread

The Harmonicats were one of the last of the great all-harmonica groups, and the end of an era that began around 1920 with a vaudeville star named Borrah Minevitch and his Harmonica Rascals. The original Harmonicats consisted of Al Fiore, Jerry Murad, and a phenomenal player named Don Les. Don played bass harmonica for the cats, but was a vituoso on the Marine Band. They had a number one song in 1947 called "Peg o' My Heart." Les is considered a pioneer of modern jazz harp, and Howard Levy sites him as a major influence.

10 Aug 01 - 04:53 AM (#524941)
Subject: RE: Harmonica bands

There is a book called "Harmonicas, Harps and Heavy Breathers" that discusses the history of harmonica playing and covers the bands.

There is another one published in Australia called "Band in a Waistcoat Pocket" by R. Grieve, but that is probably hard to find.


09 Aug 11 - 04:11 PM (#3204821)
Subject: RE: Harmonica bands
From: GUEST,Diane

I am looking for any information on a group called "Harmoniacs"? I think Lydia Minevitch was involved in the managing of the group. I know that two of the band members were Alex Novelle and Bobby Dimler. I think they were together in the early 60's. I would so appreciate any information on this topic.

09 Aug 11 - 04:22 PM (#3204831)
Subject: RE: Harmonica bands
From: Steve Shaw

There is only one reference to Lydia in the Encyclopedia Of The Harmonica. She assisted Paul Baron in 1955 to form a successor to Borrah Minevitch's Harmonica Rascals, calling the new band by the same name, but the band was short-lived. I couldn't find any reference to "The Harmoniacs."