Short Stories

Harmonica visitors submit fiction or non-fiction short stories based on experiences that involve the harmonica or harmonica playing. If you would like to have a short story included in our collection, please note the procedures for submission in the bullet points on the Short Stories main page.

"How To Play The Blues"

I was about 19 years old living in the midlands area of England, the year 1979. My friends and I from work were out on our Friday night jaunt which involved drinking a lot of beer and getting very drunk. We were in a bar having a good time when one of our group pulled a harp out and started blowing some Beatles... I was blown away, he was great.

People around us stopped talking and started singing "Close your eyes and I'll kiss you", this was the start of my blues life. You see I am from Liverpool, it was me that should be blowing that harp. This is how I was thinking.

Later on in the night, I got our harp player to one side and asked him " Who taught you to play?", "My dad" he replied. "Can you teach me?" I asked. He then gave me the best bit of advice I have ever received- "If you want to learn go and do it". "How?" "Go and buy one".

The next morning I went to the local music shop. There I bought my first harp, a Marine band in C. Included was a plastic floppy record which I played until it would play no more.

It taught me a lot that record. Sonny Terry and Brownie Mcghee were on it. I learned intros, endings, and just improvised the rest. That was over 20 years ago.

In those years, I've seen some great Blues men in Liverpool. I actually got to see my heroes Sonny and Brownie at a club called Adams in Seel St. Liverpool. The club is still there, but sadly no blues anymore. I still play my blues. It's the only thing that stays with you when you've got nothing. It's been a freind to me.

Anyway, thank you my Beatles man all those years ago, your advice was the best. Remember, if you don't own a harp and you want to start, "go and do it". Good luck with your music.

Steve Gregory

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