SONNY TERRY, A SOURCEBOOK LICKS FOR BLUES HARMONICA. CD. La tremenda armonica di Terry 1911-1986, ha iniziato a respirare e urlare dagli anni trenta con Willie Dixon, Fred McDowell (you gotta move), Brownie McGhee. TAB. per armonica.

Series: Harmonica
Publisher: Centerstream Publications
Medium: Softcover with CD
Artist: Sonny Terry
Composer: Tom Ball

"Sonny Terry has got to be explained to the people or his art will go over their head. By understanding Sonny Terry, you will learn how to enjoy and live in the real people's music that is on a train that's bound for glory." Woody Guthrie, 1946. This book/CD pack pays homage to Terry and his infamous playing. Besides 70 famous licks from Sonny, this pack gives you some quick harmonica lessons, information on Sonny's style, a discography with key chart, and a bibliography for future research. The CD includes each lick played out by the author. 48 pages.



A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of putting together a harmonica instructional book and cassette pack entitled Blues Harmonica - A Comprehensive Crash Course and Overview for Centerstream Publications. The response to that book far exceeded my expectations: letters filtered in from all corners of the globe discussing, analyzing and in some cases constructively criticizing the project. 
Although the prevailing tone of the response has been positive, some harmonica players were less than satisfied with the relative lack of specific licks to play. This was by design. With the previous book, the ideas was to present as comprehensive and broad an overview as possible without overly delving into note-for-note transcriptions. This project, on the other hand, is far more specific. Here the intent is to explore, appreciate and hopefully learn from the acknowledged master of the country blues harp: the late, great Sonny Terry. 
What you now hold in your hands is a Lick Book - nothing more, nothing less. 
For those of you wishing to learn more about Sonny's life, let me heartily recommend Kent Cooper and Fred Palmer's The Harp Styles Of Sonny Terry (Oak Publications,) which contains not only an explanation of Sonny's style, but also an often hilarious oral autobiography.
The purpose of this project is simply to supply players with transcriptions (and a CD) of licks from Sonny's repertoire. Think of it as source material. Each lick is both played on the CD and mapped out in easy-to-read harmonica tablature. 
Naturally it would've been ideal to have Sonny's own playing on the CD, but licensing nightmares precluded that obvious approach, so the licks are played by me. 
At the risk of sounding hypocritical, it is important to remember that no musician ever truly makes a statement by copying anyone else note-for-note. Eventually, all players need to develop styles of their own, but in so doing we also all must initially learn from others. It is difficult to become a master without first digesting the masters, but it is hoped that players will learn from and then vary upon these licks.
Improvisation is the nature of the beast, and the bottom line is to have fun. Please also note that this is not a method book per se. Although there are ten pages of remedial harp lessons provided, and a look at Sonny's style, it is assumed that the reader is already somewhat accomplished on the instrument. If, for example, you do not already know how to play single notes at will, or cannot bend notes fluently, this book may be a bit advanced .... in that case, I might recommend either my aforementioned Blues Harmonica or one of the other fine beginners books on the market.
Above all, please go out and buy some Sonny Terry CDs. Even if you do learn some of these individual licks, it does little good if you don't know where to put 'em. And another thing: carry your harp with you wherever you go. It's small and portable, and you never know when some well-played blues might result in a free beer! As Sonny has said: "The blues seemed to give me more room for my moods. If I felt good, there was a way of fitting that in. Or, if I was more low, I could get it off me by playing it away. Music was something you could take with you, you know, without no bother." Tom Ball
Sonny Terry, the undisputed king of the country blues harmonica, had a number of careers in music: local street musician, blues recording artist, dramatic and concert artist, R&B session man, film extra, and folk musician. 
Throughout it all, he maintained his instantly recognizable rural harp style; to this day, no one sounds like Sonny.
Born into a Georgia sharecropping family in 1911, he was christened Saunders Terrell (or Saunders Teddell, or Sanders Terrell, or Sanders Teddell, depending on whose "research" you care to believe.) He began to play harp at the age of 8, sneaking his father's instrument from it's hiding place and blowing away in secret. Two separate childhood accidents robbed him of his sight, and soon thereafter it became evident to both he and his family that if he were to make a go of it in the world, the harmonica might be his only way. After his blindness, "I wouldn't go out of the house because I was ashamed," Sonny said. "The only thing I had any interest in was playing my harmonica, and I kept on it night and day ... it was a friend who didn't give a damn if I could see or not".
Although Terry never specifically mentioned him as an influence, almost certainly he must have been exposed to the playing of Henry Whitter, a white Virginia textile worker who recorded several 78s for the Okeh label in the mid 1920's. A few of Whitter's pieces show up in Sonny's early repertoire, including 'Lost John,' 'Fox Chase,' 'Shortnin' Bread' and 'Lost Train Blues,' a solo which Terry later recorded nearly note-for-note as 'Train Whistle Blues' for an obscure release in Columbia's classical series in 1938.
When asked, Sonny usually credited DeFord Bailey as his major source of inspiration.
A gifted player and the only black member of the Grand 01' Opry, Bailey also played in a distinctively rural style, concentrating both on first-position and on cross-harp. Among Bailey's early recordings are yet other versions of 'Lost John' and 'Fox Chase,' which, coincidentally were the first two titles released under the name of Sanders Terry by the Library of Congress in 1938. "He was good!" said Terry of Bailey, "I learned Alcoholic Blues from him, and some other licks."
By the mid-'30's Terry was also good, winning local harmonica contests and working with medicine shows. His main income, however, came from playing the streets, and as a young man he took off for North Carolina. He soon found out that the most lucrative locations for playing were in front of the tobacco warehouses, where men congregated before and after work. It was in front of one of these warehouses in Wadesboro - that he met the great blues guitarist Blind Boy Fuller.
About the Author .
Introduction .
Sonny Terry 1911-1986.. .
Remedial Blues Harp - some quickie lessons .
How To Hold Your Harp .
The Tablature System .
Single Notes ... 
Straight Harp and Five Little Ditties .
Cross Harp .
Bending .
Sonny's Style .
A Dozen Intro Licks (1-12) .
A Dozen Slow and Easy Licks (13-24) .
Nineteen Fast Licks (25-43) .
Ten Shuffle-paced Licks (44-53) .
Five Backup Licks (54-58) .
Seven Tricky Licks (59-65) .
All Talk And No Action (66) .
Four Verses From Tater Pie (67-70) .
Bonus Track - Salty Holmes' "Talking" Harmonica .
Bonus Track #2: Amplified Instrumental. 
Selected Discography and Key Chart.
Bibliography .
Price: €25,99



Series: Guitar
Publisher: Centerstream Publications
Softcover with CD - TAB
Composer: Tom Ball
Nothing makes a guitar ring like a dropped-D. The simplicity and grace within this tuning really catch one's ear, and it lends itself well to almost any type of music. This book features 17 pieces in dropped-D tuning, covering a wide array of musical genres. All songs are played fingerstyle. Contents include: traditional folk songs, Joseph Spence style, blues in D, Irish and Latin songs, classical pieces and more. All examples are played on the accompanying CD by Tom Ball, plus bonus tracks. 56 pages.

Price: €20,00
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