© Al Smith © Al Smith




New book to be available at the 2008 SPAH convention

& available for mail orders beginning September 1st, 2008


Book Review by Judy Smith


What do you know about the players of the past who made the harmonica such a popular instrument and continue to influence today’s performers?

The harmonica is a very special musical instrument and wherever harmonica enthusiasts gather, conversations are often full of questions about players of the past. They are the individuals and groups that have influenced us to take up the instrument ourselves. But we often don’t know much about when and how they became “harmonica addicts.” Or who taught them to play with such mastery of technique and expression. How did Borrah Minevitch discover Johnny Puleo, the much-loved and talented star of the Rascals? 

If you are fond of playing in a harmonica group yourself, chances are you’ve heard of the Cappy Barra Boys, the Harmonica Gentlemen, the Philharmonicas, the Mulcays, the Madcaps, Stagg McMann, and the Sgro Brothers to name a few…they all have wonderful stories relating events of the “Golden Age of the Harmonica.”


The Harmonicats have been the most influential group of all from their big worldwide hit “Peg O’ My Heart” in 1947 to today. Even new harmonica players emulate the Cats’ music and attempt to match their playing techniques and presentation.


Some “addicts” had very special abilities in arranging music to bring out the best sounds from a harmonica band…David Doucette and Stan Harper have many tales of their experiences playing and writing. Alan Pogson is the famous creator of “Peg O’ My Heart” and “Petite Waltz” chord solos. Eddy Manson achieved great success as the writer and player of many movie scores.


For more than 30 years Al Smith has been asking these harmonica artists questions and writing down their stories. The tales as told by the players who were there reveal the development and great popularity of harmonica ensembles, trios and duos in America and include the stories of current performing groups. The history of the harmonica’s success in America and the “addicts” who were responsible for creating the “Golden Age of Harmonica” remains a fascinating subject.


At last a book is available that answers many questions and tells the adventures of many famous harmonica players.  The book is a wealth of interesting information, containing 516 pages and 328 photos. “CONFESSIONS OF HARMONICA ADDICTS” will be first offered for sale at the SPAH Convention in St. Louis, August 2008 for $30. Author Al Smith is very proud of completing this history of harmonica groups and will be pleased to autograph copies. You’ll be very glad to have all the answers and harmonica stories collected in one book and in your possession.

On September 1, 2008 the book will be available to the general public and mail orders will be accepted

The book can be ordered directly from Al.
Al Smith
2398 Southern Rd.
Ohio, 44286
Phone/Fax: ++1-(0)330-6596458

E-mail for orders: Hotshots

The price will be $35 in the USA and $45 U.S. dollars elsewhere, prices include shipping and handling.
Send cashier's check or money orders for US Dollars.


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