Saturday, June 11, 2016

Not Quite Broken Harp Keeps Me Not Quite Broke

$22 Friday

I went out and played last night, getting to the Lilly Pad at the nice and early time of about 9 PM.
I had thought about leaving the harmonica home, after having struggled with it and emitted some embarrassingly brash tones from it Thursday night.

But, I brought it with me and wound up learning a lot about playing on the very lowest holes.

The notes can be bend radically on these holes, and it was Dave (of Dave and Roselyn) who had once told me that "you can get some really bluesy stuff on those lowest holes" and it was his words that came to me as I attempted to play melodies on the low notes; which are still in pretty good shape on the 'ol Marine Band "1893." The notes respond the same as the middle holes, but with the added ability to bend from "way down" to the note that you want which gives it a kind of; ....bluesy (I guess would be the word) sound.

I was able to escape with about 22 dollars to go with the 10 that I had left over from the day before; giving me enough money to get a new "folkmaster" harmonica.

I also lucked out as, a young lady came along as I was playing Purple Rain, by Prince and listened to the harmonica and guitar part, seemingly half recognizing the song. I did the "professional busker" thing in cutting the solo short in order to sing out the lyric "I never meant to cause you any problems..." at which point the young lady said: "Oh, Purple Rain!" and then sat down and listened and sang along for a while and tipped me about 6 of the 22 dollars that I would wind up making in about 3 hours.
"You should have stayed on the low holes!!!"

My luck with her continued when, after she had disappeared for a while, she rematerialized and requested one of the very few songs that were feasible on the harmonica which, to use another nautical term, is listing to left; its second mast snapped off. She asked: "Do you know 'Heart of Gold,' by Neil Young?" That was one of the songs that I had done earlier, as Neil's simple harmonica work was easy to stay faithful to, given one less hole to work with.

I would love to have a new harp tonight, but I wouldn't really be able to use it because it wouldn't be broken in. I would hate to wreck the thing by playing it too hard.

I used to just chuck the little paper insert that came with the harmonicas. "Be sure to play your new harmonica very softly for the first couple weeks...Be sure to let your new harmonica warm up to body temperature before you play it. Be sure to whack out all of the moisture when you are finished playing your new harmonica so that it won't cause the wood to swell overnight..."

"Yeah, whatever..." I would think as tossed it.

I now adhere to all of those instructions, even to one advising to "always return your new harmonica to its case after playing" after a hole had become plugged by a little green bud once that had been floating around in the same backpack pocket.

Weed Free Days

Here it is 24 hours later and I am kind of in the same boat, just 20 dollars ahead of that boat. I will go out tonight and repeat, especially the not smoking weed all day but rather waiting until I am at the Lilly Pad, set up and tuned up and ready to go.


alex carter said...

You seem to be largely off the booze, but the weed seems to be taking a toll, financially, in two ways: first, the money you spend on it, then the laziness induced by it that keeps you from putting in the hours behind the guitar.

Daniel McKenna said...

Yeah, it seems to make one day run into the next, too, so I don't feel like it's a fresh new day; If I toke up in the morning, it becomes like: "Wasn't I just here doing this, and got tired of it? Well, I'm kinda still tired of it..." -type of thing

alex carter said...

I really applaud you for getting off of alcohol. I tried and was not able to do it without help. I never got into the pot thing but my impression is it's a similar downward spiral. In fact, I know a guy who smoked a lot of pot and got sent by it off into hyper-paranoid woo-woo land. He's gone so far off the deep end that I expect SWAT or some Mexican gang will finish him off in defense of the community.

Most "terminal potheads" are not this bad, of course. For one thing they don't have the money to buy tons and tons of the really strong shit. Mostly what happens is, they just lose more and more of their ambition to do anything but sit on their ass and smoke pot and indulge their munchies. The end game is to end up holding a sign saying something like "$1 FOR MARIJUANA RESEARCH" and sleeping behind a dumpster - life just becomes "OK" no matter what, it's all mellow, bro' etc.

The only problem with that, because New Orleans is not going to be that greatly affected by your adding to the ranks of the lazy pot-dazed crusties, is that at one time you had aspirations. I remember when you were talking about working through the "real" Mel Bay guitar method book, you were all hepped up about doing recordings, etc.

That was only a few years ago. Now ... ??