I’m going to revise my earlier posts forever more as to who my influences in harmonica were.
Besides my dad who played harmonica in the living room and at family gatherings, etc. the only other person I saw play harmonica live was when I lived in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Back in 81/82’ during my beach bum phases, I was working in a seafood restaurant as a waiter trying to earn my way back to California. Had already lived in Southern Cal in Orange County long before it ever became the O.C.! So this time around was going up to San Fran/San Jose areas to see what that was all about. 8)
Putting money aside from my checks and tips, the leftovers went for head. Rest assuredly, folks, mostly alcohol there. Since the drinking age was still 18, bar hopping with the waitresses or solamente was all par for the course. Anywho…
At one particular hangout, a band was playing for a one-night only appearance. Cover charge was like $5 and 3 free drinks. Not one to pass up that bargain, in I went. A light crowd to start, with more showing up, I got a front seat table and had more than my 3 free drinks.
The only thing I remember about that night and band was this harmonica player. A guy in his early 20s I gathered. Other than that, I couldn’t tell you any of their songs, any girls I may’ve talked to, nothing except that the harmonica dude was excellent.
I really wanted to talk to him during their breaks. But with young female groupies all over, and them going backstage elsewhere, I never had the chance. After the midnight set was through, after saying their goodnights, they rushed out leaving the equipment for some roadies who came in to break everything down.
So as not to miss last call at another hangout, as I was leaving, a guy beckons me over and says, “Hey, man, if you liked these guys – Why don’t you support them by buying one of their albums?!”
My initial feeling was this was just an obscure local band trying to go for the big time, but the harmonica player was memorable, so why not. Yeah, okay. I shelled out the few bucks for it and made my last call.
I think I only played the album twice if that. Somehow though, throughout my travels it managed to go with me. But then I eventually lost track of it. All I remember is it had a black and white cover with a hat on it; and some guy named Mark. ???
Well for the past few days, I’ve been looking for my Sonny Terry licks book by Tom Ball. I have the cd that came with - but I’ll be damned if I can find that book anywhere. >:(
Thinking maybe it somehow got moved to the shed out back, I went in and rummaged around.
An old box was sitting way over in the corner. I pulled it out, and it was a box of records. A collection of old LP’s from my mom and yes, me too! How they all managed to get there, I’ve no idea. Flipping past through her Nat King Cole, Eddy Arnold, Elvis sings Gospel, and even a Richard Chamberlain sings songs albums – in the back of all that was my Saturday Night Fever double set LPs; an old WC Fields & Charlie McCarthy radio programs album – and behind them was: Yes, a record with the black and white jacket, with hat and ‘shades’ on it! That’s the one! :o
Wow! What a find! So I rushed into the house, removed all the junk atop the combo radio/cd/tape/album player I got at a truck stop one year – And put the album on. Sounded great!
Wondering if this guy was even still alive, I googled him and the band. Sure enough he is.
Name: “Mark Hodgson & The Rootie Tootie Band Live – Survival in a tourist town” – produced by Mark Hodgson in 1980.
And here he is now today:
I think his music and styling is still great. And you might even like to use some of his free sounds for backing tracks if you’ve a mind to.
Plus, I’m going to email and tell him this story as well. I really don’t know how many of you have ever heard of Mark ‘muddyharp’ Hodgson. If not, well, I’m doing my part to bring him back to light; and from a little obscure Daytona Beach one-night only appearance I once attended, give the man credit where credit is due and thank him for his influences on lil ole me.
Now where in the hell is that damn Sonny Terry licks book at?! :
Will keep you posted!
Keep on smiling!
Keep on harpin’!
Thanks for reading!