Normally when we write about the top harmonica solos we only mention a song, but with the J. Geils Band’s Full House Live recording, the harmonica is prominent throughout.
The J. Geils Band came to the front and center with the band’s huge hit “Centerfold”.
But as Full House Live shows, the band was no one trick pony.
The band is explosive and is captured beautifully in this live recording, and with the addition of harp player Magic Dick (yep, that’s his name), the band and Dick virtually kick down the door of the venue and demolish the place with killer songs and a raging harmonica.
Right from the get go, the album hits you like a freight train and shows you one of the most ferocious shows of its time.
Recorded live over two nights at Detroit’s Cinderella Ballroom in 1972, the album barrels its way from beginning to end and showcases Dick’s amazing harp playing.
Dick, real name Richard Salwitz, has a rich history as a harmonica player. He had jammed with the likes of Muddy Waters, James Cotton, and John Lee Hooker during the mid-’60s Boston blues music scene. While he was a member of the J. Geils band, Dick also performed with Buddy Guy and Junior Wells on the band’s 1972 album Buddy Guy & Junior Wells Plays The Blues. From this album, Magic Dick became a revered harp player both in rock and blues circles.
Salwitz, along with producer and business parter Pierre Beauregard, had also worked on a harmonica invention that would revolutionize the instrument’s tunings. A U.S. Patent was awarded to the pair and the sounds of two of those harmonicas can be found on the instrumental “Full Court Press” on the 1994 Bluestime album.
Check out Dick’s outstanding harmonica playing below: