Jerry Murad’s Harmonicats, playing “mouth organs” of various shapes and sizes, became one of the longest running acts in show-business. The basic trio – of Armenian, Polish and Italian origins – consisted of Jerry Murad (1919-1996) on lead chromatic harmonica, Don Les (1914-1994) on bass harmonica and Al Fiore (1922-1996) on chord harmonica. Together they created an utterly distinctive sound that is pure 1940s and 50s nostalgia.
The haunting million-seller Peg O’ My Heart was the Harmonicats’ key to fame and fortune (it was the first major hit to use an echo chamber creatively), and it’s the title of Retrospective’s survey of the very best of their unique recorded output from 1947 to 1960. The range is remarkable, from speciality numbers like Harmonica Boogie, to the original treatment of standards such as Bewitched, to the amazing transformations they wrought with such classical pieces as Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu (“Dynaflow Drive”) or Kabalevsky’s The Galloping Comedians. And if there is a more exciting instrumental version of Mack The Knife, we don’t know it.
Just listen to the legendary magic of Jerry Murad and his fabulous Harmonicats – you won’t have heard anything like it!