Recreation Room

Bear loves to play Harmonica

My favorite hobby is learning to play harmonica. About 6 months ago, I started the journey, after seeing the videos below, and others like them, on YouTube. I wrote back then ...

In fact, I had recently seen a video of Buddy Greene playing the exact same kind of harmonica I had ... (possibly even the same brand and price), in Carnegie Hall. Yes, a LITTLE harmonica in Carnegie Hall! He had played the William Tell Overture on it, and gotten wild cheers and a standing ovation. (Which anyone who can pull off playing the William Tell Overture on such an instrument certainly more than deserves). I'd watched other videos of him also, playing "Amazing Grace" on it, the tone and spirit of the song so moving and haunting it brought tears to my eyes. I also saw videos of other people playing some very snappy jazz, and country, and blues. But Buddy Greene was my favorite . . . He could play country Gospel; he could play Irish jigs; he could play a smattering of classical; he could play deep worship songs and hymns; and it all sounded GOOD! . . . This was for me!

However, after taking the harmonica on a trip with me, I returned from the trip, all illusions about the instrument shattered...

...with the harmonica strategically lost in some bag or another ... and WELL lost too, as far as I was concerned. It was the craziest musical instrument I'd ever come across! A lot of the notes that Buddy Greene had played in his songs didn't even EXIST on the thing, unless you contorted your tongue and mouth into what to me seemed impossible positions, which I had failed totally at learning.

Disillusionment can not hold sway long though, concerning the harmonica. At least, not for me. I was soon back at it, and have been enjoying it much, ever since, (except for a 6 week lay-off recently, to recover from the pain of a strained rib muscle that I pulled from over-practicing on it -- hours a day. I plan on keeping my practice time down to more reasonable from now on).

Although the harmonica is still a challenge, to say the least. Maybe years from now ... or, more likely, decades from now (if I live that long) ... I'll be able to mimic my harmonica heroes below. Meanwhile, I have a lot of fun with it, despite all the squeaks and sour notes and dismal sounds that somehow sneak into my playing. And in those times when my playing gets to be too much for my own ears, I just tune back into my favorite harmonica virtuosos, and am refreshed, ready to give it another try.

The first clip is Buddy Greene playing in Carnegie Hall. Halfway through, he rips into the William Tell Overture!  Next is Terry McMillian (now deceased).  He talks for a minute, then shows himself equal to Buddy Greene, in super-fast "train music" harmonica style.  The third clip is McMillian again, playing Bear's favorite song.  Both Greene and McMillian were awesome at playing Amazing Grace.  But, since Terry McMillian has gone on to walk that final walk into the Lord's Arms, he gets the honor here.

NOTE:  The Daily Bible Quiz is now located in the Bible Room