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Ain’t No Uncle Tom in My Blues: Life and times of The Undaunted Professor Harp
Ain’t No Uncle Tom In My Blues: Life And Times Of The Undaunted Professor Harp is a rant and a rave through harmonica master Professor Harp’s decades-long career as a professional Black Bluesman in the Boston area. Professor Harp remembers it all, stating, “My memoir, it’s as much about injustice as it is about music. Times haven’t changed so much for Black folk in the last half-century. Well, to be fair, I didn’t grow up in a cotton field, and I’m glad I didn’t. Jim Crow gentrified into Chad Crowe, Esquire, but it’s Jim Crow all the same. Learned to play harp (harmonica) on my own, studied the greats like George Harmonica Smith and James Cotton. I’ve sat in and played with Muddy Waters – lost my musical virginity that night long ago. Proud to have been on the bill with the world famous B.B. King. Still, something’s wrong, something’s missing. Somehow, after so many years, I still can’t get tight with a band of my own.
The great Solomon Burke gave me my stage name, “Professor Harp.” I added “Undaunted” because that’s who I am. I’ll never give up on the Blues. No matter that Blacks have abandoned their own heritage, their own musical history. No matter that whites have appropriated the Blues and turned it into something it was never meant to be. No matter that my life as a Bluesman living in a sea of white folks here in the New England area has been nothing but a vicious struggle, battling the racism that is inherent in our part of the world. Fighting the battle of childhood abuse, isolation, bullying. No, I’ll never give up trying.
That’s why they call me The Undaunted Professor Harp. I’m no Uncle Tom. I tell it like it is. Like it was. Don’t hold much back. I’ve got plenty to say. And yes, I keep on, keepin’ on.”
Ain’t No Uncle Tom In My Blues: Life And Times Of The Undaunted Professor Harp is a rant and a rave through harmonica master Professor Harp’s decades-long career as a professional Black Bluesman in the Boston area. Professor Harp remembers it all, stating, “My memoir, it’s as much about injustice as it is about music. Times haven’t [ >> (opens in a new tab)”>Read more >>>
Upcoming Club Dates
Although born and raised as Hugh Holmes of Boston, Mass., the emanations from his harmonica and vocals make it clear that Professor Harp has the blues of Texas and the whole wide Delta coursing through his veins.
The Professor was a rock ‘n’ roll drummer until ’69, when the Boston blues revival and a sterling performance he caught of blues harmonica great George Allen ‘Harmonica’ Smith, combined to lure him away from drums and into a full court press on the blues harp. “Undaunted!” he…
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- “Tip On In” Doug’s House of Harmony, New Bedford MA. March 19, 2023
- Well, a little Lazy Lester action–last call at the The Porch Southern Fare & Juke Joint, Medford, MA. February 20, 2020.
- Doug’s House of Harmony, New Bedford MA. “Just Your Fool and Nose Job” video by Calvin J N Grace. October 26,2019.
- Harmonica duel at the Gloucester (MA) Blues Festival with the great Marquise Knox on Saturday August 10, 2019.
- Live Rocky Rockwoods Sunday Jam Sounds #3!!! Instrumental Blues in E
- Videos by Robert John
- Professor Harp Live @ Nelson’s Candies/Locals Cafe 10/14/17
- Prof Harp with Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue @ BaHa Brothers Sandbar Grill.
- Professor Harp @ BaHa Brothers Sandbar Grill Taunton MA
- Theodores BBQ Roller Coaster
- Professor Harp at a Memorial Benefit
- Professor Harp, at the 2011 Onset Blues Festival!
- Professor Harp Live at Smoken’ Joe’s BBQ & Blues!
- Professor Harp at The Bull Run!
- Professor Harp, EASY 10/02/2010!
- Live at The Plymouth Rock Blues Festival 3/20/10!
- View Professor Harp with the Pete Best Band!
- Prof. Harp Live in Montreal
- View Professor Harp GO ‘HEAD ON on YouTube!
Photography credits and many thanks to Dhana Whiteing, Mike Kurgansky, Michael Baumann, Anne-Marie Beck, Lilian Dina, Jimdad Kenney, Kerry Quinn, and Tarik Preston-Holmes.