Groovin’ With Mr Bloe – Part 1 [..with tab]

Groovin' With Mr Bloe LPGroovy baby – yeah!

Otis stopped by this morning for a nice cup of tea and a sit down and brought us a lovely letter from Stuart Willowgate.

Been blowin’ since Christmas ’08 – or trying to, and loving it! I heard the song Groovin’ with Mr Bloe as the out music to Oz and James’ beer tour of Britain and have now found it on your site. I remember it the first time round! I think its on a C harp based in or around the 5 or 6 hole draw. Any tips to playing it, or a tab perhaps?

Thanks for your comments Stuart. You’d be referring to the entry about Groovin’ With Mr Bloe on our Harp Trivia Who Played That page. It’s not the first time Mr Bloe has come into conversation, so we ought to investigate the song and nail that tab for you right away.

Background

Groovin’ With Mr Bloe reached No.2 in the British pop charts in May 1970. It was held off the top slot by Mungo Jerry‘s In The Summertime. Unbeknown to many, it is actually a cover version. The original, called Grooving With Mr Bloe, was released in the USA as a B side on Life Records by a studio band called Wind and the song’s creation is credited to their band members Bo Gentry, Paul Naumann and Kenny Laguna.

Wind had briefly teamed up with Tony Orlando in 1969 to record the US hit Make Believe. Stuck for a B side, they threw together Mr Bloe, another bubblegum groove with some thrown together harmonica lines. And yes, it is the same Tony Orlando who had the hit record Tie A Yellow Ribbon in 1973 with his band Dawn. The British hit featured Harry Pitch on harmonica and was issued on DJM Records.

Writer Kenny Laguna recalls: Bo Gentry and I found him [Tony Orlando] looking rather portly, and working behind a desk at April Blackwood Publishing. We talked him into singing a hit called ‘Make Believe’, a shameless Four Seasons knockoff. I sang the high voice and Tony sang baritone..When ‘Make Believe’, the first Wind single, was ready to be released, we needed a B-side.

Our Buddah releases were known for their ridiculous B-sides, like A-sides played backwards in order for the business dudes to copyright something with themselves as writers, even though they couldn’t write songs. (One of the record company heads actually had a 3-year old daughter who had written more songs than Cole Porter).

We dusted off a backing track from a ‘Yummy Yummy’, ‘Chewy Chewy’, ‘Sugar Sugar’, ‘Money Money’ wannabe song that was called something like ‘Bingo Bingo’, and improvised a haphazard harmonica and melodica overdub for the B-side. After ‘Make Believe’ was a Top 20 hit in the United States, we sent it to England. There, the very exited and supportive BBC was happy to showcase the latest hit by our bubblegum dynasty. It was an instant success.

I got a call from Bo Gentry, who said, I’ve got a wedding present for you, you wrote the #1 record in Great Britain. What song? I asked. Groovin’ with Mr Bloe was the answer. I didn’t remember a song with that title. It turns out the Beeb (BBC) had unwittingly played the wrong side of the single and the throw away B-side became a worldwide hit, one of the biggest instrumentals of all-time, one of my greatest songwriting efforts, and, although in the US it only reached top 50 in Billboard, it was used as Dick Clark’s American Bandstand theme for many years. Ah, the many and varied wondrous ways of the record business.

Chatting with Roger and Harry

Roger Trowbridge, chairman of the UK National Harmonica League, has been researching the track for some time and has gathered a lot of information which we may cover in a future post. Roger comments, the original was played on a diatonic harmonica and appeared on the b-side of a single by the US ‘bubblegum‘ band Wind.

Zac Laurence provided sheet music for the session which he had scored from the original record. Harry Pitch was the session harmonica player. He didn’t use diatonic harps and had to play the harmonica melody on his standard C chromatic. I doubt if anyone thought of using a diatonic. I don’t think Harry ever heard the original either – he just played the session from the music provided.

Groovin' With Mr.BloeHarp Surgery rang Harry Pitch to double check a few details. Harry was happy to talk about the recording. He explained I had a phone call two weeks before my birthday in May 1970 by Dick James, the Music Publishers. They booked me for a two week session at their London studios to record Groovin’ With Mr Bloe.

Zack Laurence arranged it and wrote out the score. I recorded it and then went back to alter it a couple of times, adding wah-wah-wah wah-wah [the blow bent notes towards the end of the track – Ed.].

Zack said ‘now we know the notes are correct and in sequence, I want you to play it like this – wah-wah-wah, wah-wah, like you did for Frank Ifield. The band were all sessions musicians. By the time the track hit number 2 in the charts, the ‘band’ was unavailable – and would have looked out of keeping for Top Of The Pops, so the BBC just played the song and Pan’s People choreographed a dance routine to it!

I’m gone man, solid gone!

Here are the tabs for the original US (diatonic) and the UK (chromatic) versions of Mr Bloe.

US version ‘Grooving With Mr Bloe’

D diatonic 1st position

VERSE ONE

5B (shade of 6B also)…..

4D’..4D 3B 3D’..3D 3B   3B

3D’..3D 4B   4D’..4D..4D’..4D 3B

5D’..5D (shade of 6B also)   5B   4D’..4D 3B   3B

4D’..4D 4B   4D-5D   4D-5D 4D-5D..4D-5D

6D~….   6B 6D   6B   4D’..4D 3B

…3B   4D’..4D-5D 4B-5B   4D’..4D-5D 4B-5B

6D’..6D 6B

5D’..5D 5D’..5D   5D’..5D 5D’..5D 5B

4B 3B 4D   5B   5D..5B..4D

6D~….

4D   4B   4D’..4D 4D’..4D   4D’..4B

CHORUS

4D’..4D 4B

….4D..4D’..4D 4B

4D..4D’..4D 4B

4D..4D’..4D 4B

…4D   4D    4D’..4D..4D..4D   4D..4D..4D

4D’..4D 4B

4D..4D’..4D 4B

4D..4D’..4D 4B

4D..4D’..4D 4B

..4D..4D’

4D’..4D..4D..4D   4D’..4D..4D..4D

VERSE TWO

5B (shade of 6B also)…..

4D’..4D 3B 3D’..3D 3B   3B

3D’..3D 4B   4D..4D’..4D 3B   3B

5D’..5D 5B   4D 4B

4D..4D’..4D 5B

4D..4D’..4D 4D’..4D   4D’..4D

6D~..6B   4D’..4D 3B   3B   3B

…4D’..4D   4D’..4D 5B   5D

6D’..6D   6B

4D’..4D   4D’..4D   4B

3B

5D’..5D    5B   4B   3B

3B   4D   5B 6D..6B

4D’..4D   4B

4D’..4D   4D’..4D   4D’..4D

CHORUS

4D’..4D 4B

4D   4D..4D’..4D 4B

4D..4D’..4D 4B

4D..4D’..4D 4B

…4D   4D 4D..4D..4D   4D..4D..4D

4D’..4D 4B

4D 4D..4D’..4D 4B

4D..4D’..4B

4D..4D’..4B

4D’..4D   4B

4D’..4D   4D’..4D   4D’..4D   4B

4D..4D’..4D 4B

BREAK

4D..4D’..4D 4B

…4D 4D..4D’..4D 4B

4D..4D’..4D 4B

4D..4D’..4D 4B

…4D..4D

>4D’..4D   >4D’..4D   >4D’..4D   >4D’..4D

4D’..4D 4B

4D..4D’..4D 4B

4D’..4D   4B

3D   3B

4D’..4D   5D

4D..4D’..4D   4B

..Ad lib to end and fade

TAB 2 – Chromatic for UK version ‘Groovin’ With Mr Bloe’

Tabbed using a C major Hohner CX12 three octave chromatic harmonica

VERSE 1

6D#…….

…6B   5D   5B# 3D..3D

5B#..5D..6B   6B 3D

…7B   6D#   6B 3D..3D

6B 5D   7B..7B..7B

8D   7D..8D..7D   6B   3D

5D   6B   5D   6B   5D

(gliss)…8D..7D   7B..7B..7B   7B 6D#

5D 3D   6B 6D#   7B 6D#   5D (gliss)…8D

..5B# 5D   6B..6B..6B …..

CHORUS 1

6B 5D

6B~   6B 5D

6B~   6B 5D

6B~   6B 5D

..6B..6B

6B..6B..6B   6B..6B..6B   6B..5D

6B..6B   6B~   5D

6B   6B~   5D

6B   6B~   5D

..6B..6B

6B..6B..6B   6B..6B..6B ….

VERSE 2

6D#…….\

..3D.. 3D   4B#

3D..3D   4B#..5D   6B..6B~   3D

..7B   6D#..6B

..3D   6B~..6B   6D#..7B..6B   6B..6B

(gliss)…8D..   7D   6B 3D..3D

6B~..6B   6D#..7B

(gliss)…8D..   7D   6B..6B..6B   6B

..7B 5D   6B^..3D

5D   6B..6D#   8D..7D

..5D..5B#   6B~..6B~..6B~

CHORUS 2

6B..5D

6B..6B..6B..5D

..6B..6B..5D

..6B..6B..5D

6B..6B   6B..6B..6B   6B..6B..6B   6B..5D

6B~^..6B..5D   6B~^..6B..5D   6B~^..6B..5D

6B..6B..6B..5D   6B^..6B..5D

BREAK

6B..5D

6B..6B   6B..5D

6B..6B..5D   6B..6B..5D

6B..6B   6B..6B..6B   6B..6B..6B 6B..5D

6B..6B   6B..5D

6B..6B..5D   6B..6B..5D

6B..6B   6B..6B..6B 6B..6B..6B 6B..5D ……..fade

2 thoughts on “Groovin’ With Mr Bloe – Part 1 [..with tab]

  • October 27, 2009 at 6:02 pm
    Permalink

    The Fall did a great – almost surreal – version of Groovin’ with Mr Bloe as part of a session for the late great John Peel.

    It segues into Green Eyed Loco Man and is totally bizzarre. It makes me laugh every time I listen to it, but it’s great music too.

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