July 18, 2011

JOHNNY PULEO and his Harmonica Gang

Johnny Puleo has been a staple of my vinyl collection for many years now. I must have been only 15 or 16 when, as a nerdy music student, eager to listen to anything and everything "unusual" (clearly, I never really grew out of that), I picked up Volume 2 of this series of albums from Johnny Puleo and his Harmonica Gang for about 25 cents at a flea market. Years later, after thinking I'd NEVER find Volume 1 to complete the set, I found Volume 1 (but didn't complete the set - more on this later).

"The only instruments used on this recording and harmonicas or mouth organs!", the back cover proudly declares. Indeed, it's nothing but harmonicas, but if you like harmonicas, especially a bunch of 'em all together, it's nothing but fantastic. It's mostly corny old music but these guys really make their harmonicas sing. You may recognize Aram Khatchaturian's "Sabre Dance" (Volume 2, track 2) as the Buffalo Sabres' hockey team theme music often played during their home games, like I did (memories of old-school Hockey Night in Canada!) - but you've never heard it like this.

Not enough Johnny Puleo for you? Stay tuned for MORE Johnny Puleo, up next.