Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast

Magic Dick interview

November 27, 2021 Neil Warren Season 1 Episode 50
Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast
Magic Dick interview
Show Notes Chapter Markers

Magic Dick joins me on episode 50.
Magic Dick created one of the all time classic harmonica instrumentals in Whammer Jammer. But his long career has produced so many more highlights than just that.
He started playing trumpet at age 9, and this instrument along with his love of jazz and rock and roll shaped his approach on harmonica.
He was a founder member of the J Geils Band, who had great commercial success for over 15 years. Magic Dick was  an integral part of their sound with his harmonica work central to their output of Rhythm & Blues, Rock, Pop and Soul.
After the J Geils band split in 1985 he took a break from playing before coming back with some session playing and then forming the band Bluestime with J Geils. More recently he has performed in an acoustic duo with Shun Ng.


Magic Dick's website:

Email Magic Dick for lessons:

Line 6 HX Stomp pedal:


Southern Crossing with band Full Circle:

Whammer Jammer with Shun Ng:

So What on Chromatic with Shun Ng:

Papa's Got A Brand New Bag with Shun Ng:

Podcast website:



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Where the name Magic Dick (and his Lickin’ Stick) came from
Lickin’ Stick is a term used for harmonica in some parts of the US
Mother sang in a choir and played duets with his brother
First instrument was the trumpet and some saxophone later
Started playing the harmonica age 21 after hearing Sonny Terry
Then got into Sonny Boy Williamson and the great Chicago players who influenced his stye more
The characteristic 10 blow bend played by Magic Dick and advice on how to hit it
Always had an interest in physics and the acoustic sound qualities of the harmonica
How vocal training has helped Magic Dick develop his harmonica technique
Provides lessons, contact details on podcast page
Studied the harmonica greats as part of his development
More on how vocal training assisted harmonica playing
What makes a successful harmonica player
His deep research into music and producing good tone and how reeds work
The formation of the J Geils band in 1968
Plays a lot of chromatic harmonica now
Commercial success of the J Geils band and dropping ‘Blues Band’ from their name
Role of the harmonica in the different genres covered by J Geils Band
How successful were the J Geils Band
First J Geils band album and the song Homework played on a solo tuned harp in 3rd position
Second album, and the birth of Whammer Jammer
The famous live version of Whammer Jammer from the 1972 album Full House
Composition of Whammer Jammer gives it great momentum
Give It To Me song on fourth J Geils album had a lot of success in charts
The band were enjoying success around the world and comparisons with The Rolling Stones
Monkey Island album in 1977 contained the song I’m Not Rough
Sanctuary song from album of same name
Centrefold from J Geil’s band most successful album, Freeze Frame
1982 live album Showtime, including the song Stoop Down Baby, inspired by trumpeter Roy Eldridge
The last J Geils band album was in 1984 before the band split up and he took a break from playing
Started playing again a couple of years later and did some session recordings
Patented the ‘Magic Harmonica’: which was a forerunner to the harmonicas now available in numerous tunings
Formed the band Bluestime with J Geils in 1992
Relation of singing to harmonica playing and singing in general
Played with the Legendary Rhythm and Blues band
Recorded an album with Shun Ng
10 minute question
Harmonicas of choice
Really likes the chord harmonica
Likes to play ballads and iRealPro
Chromatic harmonicas of choice
Different tunings
Amp set-up with J Geils band
Amp and mic set-up used now
Future plans