I went to the Beach Club on the Post Road in Fairfield, CT Saturday night to sit in with the Mojomatics at the invitation of their lead singer and harp player, Manny Foglio.  It was a good night.

I listened to the Mojomatics for about 2 hours before I played.  The band is a tight quartet of bass-drums-guitar-harp; the rhythm section has been playing together since 1979(!).  As always, it’s very satisfying to hear a group that long ago learned how to play together.  The style is blues, R&B, and early rock–the stuff I grew up on.
Manny’s harp playing up front is very Chicago-oriented–tube amp with bullet mic, strong amped tone.  After the first set, when I went to set up my gear, Manny offered me the use of his backup amp, a Fender Super Reverb, and I was sorely tempted.  But I decided to go with my Digitech RP200, and I’m glad that I did. 

I had some volume issues at first, but I solved that by diming the volume control in the RP200, increasing the PA mains volume, and dropping the monitors (which were the only thing feeding back).   After that, I had plenty of volume, and a olot of solid sounds to work with.  The great thing about the RP–as opposed to any killer tube amp, like that Super Reverb–is that I have a lot of different sounds available, not just one.  So I was able to switch from hard amped sounds to clean sounds to my Taj Mahal tone at the touch of a button, and it all worked musically. 

I was in very good form on Saturday night, the result of lots of recent practice, a really good rhythm section to play with, and a steady exercise regime.  Harmonica is very physical, and it should go without saying that you’re better off being in shape before you pick it up.  But I was really surprised to see how little effort it took to play for an hour and a half now that I’m working out regularly.  Who’da thunk that exercise was good for you?