Posted on: March 21st, 2016 by Tim

Offbeats’ Blues / Born in Chicago

Offbeats is not, actually, a Blues band (big surprise) but on November 17th, 2002 we played a gig with our friend Irving Lubliner at the Bistro in Hayward who is a blues musician. Irv had played harp in the studio sessions for our 2nd CD “Rock’n’Ska” on one of Jay’s songs “You Got Me”. His harp really blended with us on the recording so we asked him to sit in with us on stage as it was too much fun to stop.

It was a good night at the Bistro. We started the second set with this tune, a cover of the Butterfield Blues Band‘s “Born In Chicago”, written by Nick Gravenitis, a tune that Irv and I must have listened to a zillion times back in the day. There are also two other videos from this show with Irv that we will upload soon. Keep an eye on our video page.

A bit of personal blues history

The back story is that though Irv and I were not actually born in Chicago, I’ve known Irv since we went to high school together and he is one of the first musicians I hung out with. We spent a lot of time immersed in music together, in the late 60’s, mostly listening to Blues, Rock, and Psychedelia. Everybody from Canned Heat (who’s blues style we later discovered was derived from John Lee Hooker) to local blues bands like Mother Earth and The Loading Zone were on our personal charts. Of course we (or at least I) also loved bands such as Pink Floyd which were hardly Blues at all, but we came together on Jimi Hendrix and some of the Grateful Dead’s tunes (featuring Pig Pen) not to mention oddities such as Captain Beefhart and his Magic band all of which had blues influences – some weirder than others. Irving has kept the tradition alive and now teaches beginning harp in Oregon to younger musicians, imparting the secrets of the art like soaking your harp in water to get those reeds just right.

Having published this, Irving says: A couple of corrections with regard to what appears on your website: (1) I’m actually teaching harmonica at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute here in Ashland. My students are all over 50, and most of them are older than I am. (2) Though I used to soak my harmonicas, I don’t do that anymore, nor do I recommend that others do it with theirs. If there’s a bit of grit causing a reed not to vibrate properly, I will rinse the harmonica to try to free up the reed, but I’m not soaking harmonicas anymore.


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