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Harmonica Frank Floyd


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Harmonica Frank (October 11, 1908, Toccopola, Mississippi - August 7, 1984, Blanchester, Ohio) was an American blues singer, guitarist and harmonicist.

Harmonica Frank Floyd was the son of itinerant parents who separated without giving him a name. He was raised by his sharecropping grandparents, who died while he was a teenager. Frank taught himself to play harmonica when he was 10 years old, and he eventually learned guitar as well. He gave himself the name Frank Floyd and began performing in the 1920s for traveling carnivals and medicine shows. He learned many types of folk music and became an extraordinary mimic, effortlessly switching from humorous hillbilly ballads to deep country blues.

With his self-taught harmonica technique, he was a one-man band, able to play the instrument without his hands or the need for a neck brace. While also playing guitar, he perfected a technique of manipulating the harmonica with his mouth while he sang out of the other side. He could also play harmonica with his nose and thus play two harmonicas at once, a skill he shared with blues harp players Walter Horton and Gus Cannon’s partner Noah Lewis.

After years of performing on the medicine-show circuit, Harmonica Frank began working in radio in 1932. His first records were made in 1951, engineered by Sam Phillips in Memphis, Tennessee.

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