The Missing Link, the title of the Frank Floyd’s newly discovered final recordings, says it all. The recordings that comprise this release were the very last from a free spirit whose roots go back to the dawn of a previous century. Harmonica Frank’s music transcended the boundaries of genre and race as no figure in music had ever before. Born in Mississippi in 1908, Harmonica Frank was riding the rails and living the hobo life from the early 1920’s onward.
Abandoned by his parents, he hit the road at 14, upon the death of his grandparents. His music, born of carnivals, circuses, minstrel and medicine shows is a kind of musical bridge between the black and white rural populations of the South. Recorded by Jim Dickinson and David Less in 1979, these are thought to be the very last and, perhaps, finest recordings ever made by this cultural and musical enigma. The sessions that comprise The Missing Link were conducted both in the studio and live in performance and give an insight into a way of life that is gone forever. Sun Records collectors have long been aware of Frank’s breaking the color line at that legendary Memphis label in its early days when the artist roster was entirely black.
His recording of “Rockin’ Chair Daddy” was an early Sun classic and a rousing version of the song kicks off this collection in a blaze of down home glory. Mirthful, joyful and bluesy, the album also includes CD booklet notes by the acclaimed poet, novelist and “nonfiction cartographer of underworlds,” Nick Tosches author of Country: The Twisted Roots of Rock ‘n Roll, Dino and Hellfire.Harmonica Frank was an entertainer for the better part of a century; his repertoire included jokes, tricks, songs and stories. Frank’s art reflected his an uncanny ability to tap into something quintessentially American. This Memphis International package includes 17 tracks that find Frank doing amazing musical tricks with his harmonica, singing the blues -- “like the colored people” -- and generally having a great time of it near the close of his life.
Memphis International Records co-founder David Less had brought Frank back to the city where he had recorded “Rocking Chair Daddy” and “Swamp Root” in the late ‘70’s and early 80’s. “Frank was my houseguest when he came to town to perform at concerts I was promoting then,” Less recalls. “He seemed to subsist on a diet comprised entirely of bananas and cream. Jim Dickinson and I were very fortunate to have had the opportunity to record him for the last time and even luckier to have known him at all.
During the “blues revival” of the early 1970’s, Frank performed alongside black bluesmen of the same vintage and toured as the only white member of The Memphis Blues Caravan. One English writer noted “not only had he been born into similar circumstances as Elvis, he'd stayed there.
|Release Date||Nov 23, 2015|
|Artist||Harmonica Frank Floyd|
|Record Label||Memphis International Records|
|Number of Discs||1|
|Box Lot Quantity||30|