Harmonica Fats / Bernie Pearl

Decades: 1990s


Harvey Blackston, 8 September 1927, McDade, Louisiana, USA, d. 3 January 2000. Fats taught himself to play harmonica while growing up on his grandfather’s farm. He subsequently moved to Los Angeles during World War II and became a professional musician in 1956. In the early 60s his debut recording, a raunchy cover of Hank Ballard’s ‘Tore Up’, was a hit and remains a popular item. For some years Fats worked on tours with major artists, but in the 70s he returned to club work, and has recorded for many labels. His gruff vocals and down-home harmonica are often backed by soul bands. In 1986 Fats teamed up with local disc jockey and band leader Bernie Pearl, whose music was much more in sympathy with his straightforward, rocking blues approach.

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