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Author Will David Mitchell
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Will David Mitchell


Tech notes

Everything on this CD uses harmonicas: various Chromatics, Chords, Basses, two 'Specials' and a 'Little Lady.' David arranged and performed all parts but with personal permission, he borrowed heavily from Jerry Murad's magnificent 'Peg O' My Heart.' David recorded the tape the year his quartet won the National Harmonica Championship. Tesco Studios, Omaha, Nebraska added echo and published the cassette release, which sold out in a month. This CD is a re-release from the original tape master.

Flight of the Bumblebee (F-Major) by Rimsky-Korsakov required a highly-modified, F-pitched, Membi Chromatic Harmonica made by Herring in Brazil. David sharpened the pitch of each harmonica reed by filing its tip to a razor edge and then flattened each reed's pitch back in tune by scraping its root. He removed the 'wind savers.' The fragile result barely responded quickly enough for this song. Ceertain passing-notes had to be made with the tongue and cheeks, not the lungs supplying air and vacuum - impossible on ordinary harps. The reeds were so delicate that the Membi needed serious amplification. One Hohner Bass and one Hohner Chord harmonica accompany. No other such recording is known. Sadly, you can hear David shatter two Membi reeds on the last, dramatic run!

Old Man River (C-Major) from 'Show Boat,' features two Bass Harmonica tracks with Chromatic accompaniment. No Chord Harmonica is present. It's a simple, passionate, forlorn piece.

The Lords Prayer (C-Major) uses only a single Chromatic. Tesco enhanced some of the high tonal effects and added echo to make it like a pipe organ in a massive cathedral. They applied similar effects on You Fill Up My Senses (C-Major and F-Major.)

Stormy Weather (C-Major) was recorded during an extreme Nebraska rainstorm and you can hear the rain at the beginning. A scary thunder crash occurred at exactly the right moment near the end, at the word On. David had a bad case of intestinal flu that week. This song required seven separate harmonicas, including a Special Chord, which David had to invent. The Special Harmonica is also heard solo at the start of Ghost Riders.

Peg O' My Heart is dedicated to the incomparable Jerry Murad and the Harmonicats trio, who made it so famous.  This version is closer to the record than the concert trio version. Playing all four parts and merging them together, David couldn't be quite as precise as the Harmonicats in concert but Jerry liked this version a whole lot. Here is Jerry's original mega-seller. . Wow!

There was a TV commercial about 'Things that don't go together like Bolero and the Harmonica.' Intrigued, David immediately recorded a shortened version of Ravel's beloved Bolero (C-Major). The drum is by finger-tapping a Chromatic Harmonica that had its screws loosened until it rattled just so.

The Russian National Balalaika Orchestra was touring the USA at the time of this recording. Lara's Theme (C-Major) from Dr. Zhivago is rendered on a single ordinary Chromatic via intricate mouth work. David found Tremolo harmonicas simply don't have the sonorous mandolin effect of a full Russian balalaika orchestra.

David still plays passionately, wishing you every pleasure hearing this exotic family of instruments. If you request it, perhaps he will be inspired to record a follow-on CD just for you. (858) 538-2911. http://WillDavidMitchell@Mktg.Org