On The Road Again – Alan ‘Blind Owl’ Wilson [..with tab]

Well I’m so tired of crying, but I’m out on the road again

Midway through the harp solo in Canned Heat’s On The Road Again, Al Wilson plays a G in the middle range of his A harmonica. ‘How did he do that?’ asked then student, now performing UK harp ace, Clive ‘Jive’ Langhorn… Over to Pat Missin for the definitive…

A harp in the key of A has a G#, but no G and it is not possible to bend the G# in this octave, so how did he do it?

Several suggestions have been put forward. Perhaps he played an overblow? That is possible as other players around that time were starting to discover overblows and the hole 6 overblow on an A harp would give you a G. However, the slide down from this note includes a very quick slur over the D (5 draw) and the B (4 draw). If he had to switch between overblowing and drawing, there would be a slight hiccup in this phrase. (more…)