Dave Squared – Who’d Have Thought It Possible?

Our Monica 11Time was away and somewhere else

The Good Doctor was tapping the steering wheel of his bright red Volvo PV as it bowled along the village High Street. From below the dashboard came the rattle and hum not of the dodgy rocker box Greasy Rob had just re-engineered, but the rhythm of Shake A Bone; the album by Son of Dave.

The Doc pulled up outside the Harp Surgery, crunched his way along the path and, dropping his harp case inside the door, spun his homburg across the reception onto the vacant coat stand. Bull’s-eye! Mama like a bit of revolution talk..!’ he growled in a faux basse more reminiscent of Al Pacino than Son of Dave.  (more…)

Dave Ferguson, La Vie, Cape Town, 30.Jan 2011

Check him out now, the funk soul brother

If a sour mash of Alabama 3, Johnny Cash, Son of Dave, hip-hop, dub and fried green tomatoes was used for a whole new ass-kicking brew, the label would read Dave Ferguson’s Lucky No.7 Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

In our interview with The Mountain Of Love, reference was made to a New Blues music pioneered by R.L. Burnside and Little Axe in the 1980′s and 90′s. Here sequencing, sampling, dub and heavy dance beats were bulldozing the conventions of the blues.

Yet amidst the radicalism, two unalienables remained. The pathos of the slide guitar and anguish of the blues harp. Dave Ferguson is the latest settler in this new blues Heimat and an important exponent of the latter. What he does, he does extremely well. He also tackles it single-handedly. We dropped into Cape Town to check out the Lonesome Whistle Blower of New Blues.


Mountain Of Love – Brixton Windmill, London, 18.Feb 2011

Way down below, there’s a half a million people

Otis, the Harp Surgery’s Postman, delivered a lovely letter this morning from our harp friend Piers Marsh, inviting us to see his new band at the Brixton Windmill on 18.Feb 2011. Their name is Mountain Of Love (after Piers’ Alabama 3 pseudonym naturally). We understand Sir Eddie Real of Alabama 3 is also part of the new set up.

We do urge everyone to check out the new grooves. The first MOL album is a work in progress, however you can catch a sneak preview on youtube. MOL has a myspace page, and describes it’s new sound as down-tempo, dub and elctronica. No doubt there will be some harmonica in there somewhere. There is also a Facebook page and a dedicated website in the pipeline. (more…)

Havana Blues Society

Cornbread, hog maw and chittlins

In our recent post Harping In Havana, we discovered the thrill of playing salsa music on the diatonic harmonica. We also said while Latin grooves feature strongly in rhythm and blues, the reverse is apparently not true in Cuba

Wherever you travel on the island, those infectious Cuban rhythms are omnipresent; even in the simplest peel of claves from a street vendor. Conversely, the only shuffle you’ll catch is from coveted chess boards in shady doorways.

But all this raises further questions. Do resident Cubans actually play or even like blues music? If so, where can it be found? Wouldn’t the style’s inextricable link with Americana have forced it deep underground, or else triggered its complete eradication under state censorship? And most importantly for the Harp Surgery, does the humble blues harmonica have a home in Cuba? We packed our bags and went in search of some answers.


Son of Dave – Part 2 : “I’m not really a very clever harp player”

Son of Dave interviewLast month we interviewed the Son of Dave. Here’s the second half of our chat with the beat-boxing harmonica man: this time, he rants about drum-machines, America, nun-raping pop songs, and why he wears sunglasses indoors.

…So I asked some of our readers if they had any questions for you. Here’s one from Adam Gussow.
SoD: He has a question for me?

Why, he has three questions.
SoD: Get the fuck out of here! Well, hi Adam.

Here’s his first question: do you tongue-block or lip-purse, and does that sort of technical question interest you or bore you?
SoD: Tongue block, now stop boring me. (more…)

Son of Dave – Part 1: Same Old Sound, Maybe New Sunglasses

Son of Dave
An interview with blues harmonica man Benjamin Darvil

Son of Dave found his coolness through the only legitimate means available to us skinny white guys: Wearing your granddad’s clothes and a creepy grin, and making bizarre, gut-busting music that goes oomph-a-doomph in the night. The one-man beat-boxing, harmonica-playing phenomenon has a new album coming out on March 22: Shake a Bone. The Harp Surgery’s Apprentice found him in the Blues Kitchen, North London, lurking behind a pair of sunglasses and a huge plate of Tex-Mex. Here’s what he had to say… (more…)