Borrah Minevitch & His Harmonica Rascals

Spike Jones wasn't the only purveyor of crazy novelty music in the first half of the 20th century (we've already covered Irving Aaronson). Russian-born Borrah Minevitch led a zany combo that were very popular from the late 1920s to Minevitchs' untimely death in the '50s. Space Age Pop sez, "the novelty of a whole harmonica band, using the full range from huge bass to tiny alto harmonica, made a terrific impression. Within a year, Minevitch and his Harmonica Rascals were one of the hottest acts on the vaudeville circuit." They even featured a midget, Johnny Puleo, who was featured prominently in their on-stage shenanigans, as videos of the group on YouTube attest.

I took an informal survey asking "What's your least-favorite music instrument?" and the harmonica got the most votes. For that I think you can thank the atonal bleating of Bob Dylan and his musical offspring. But this stuff is not only wacky fun, but virtuosically arranged and performed, making it an impressive listen even apart from the novelty of hearing absolutely no other instruments (or singing) apart from harmonicas. This CD tacked on a few songs by the very commercially successful spin-off group, Jerry Murad's Harmonicats, whose albums are frequently found in bargain bins and thrift stores. But compared to the Harmonica Rascals, the
Harmonicats had a much more easy-listening sound. And no midgets.

Borrah Minevitch & His Harmonica Rascals

1. The Carioca
2. Chinatown, My Chinatown
3. Daybreak Express
4. Moonglow
5. Nagasaki
6. Bugle Call Rag
7. Caprice Viennois
8. On Treasure Island
9. Limehouse Blues
10. I've Got A Feelin' You're Foolin/You Are My Lucky Star
11. The Ghost Walk
12. Deep River
13. Liebestraum
14. Hora Staccato
15. La Violetera
16. On The Loose
17. Boots And Saddle
18. The Music Goes 'Round And Around
19. Peg O' My Heart - Jerry Murad's Harmonicats
20. Fantasy Impromptu - Jerry Murad's Harmonicats
21. Bye Bye Blues - Jerry Murad's Harmonicats
22. Willow Weep For Me - Jerry Murad's Harmonicats
Plus, I've added - at no extra cost to you! - an excellent bonus track: "Hungarian Rhapsody # 2," collected elsewhere on teh intar-webs.

No comments:

Post a Comment