1. Monica Harmonica

Michael Dyer


A few years ago I couldn't play the harmonica at all. Then my wife bought me a harmonica because she heard on a radio talk show that people play them when they're stuck in traffic, so I had it in the car but still rarely played it. Then I decided to write a song that would feature this instrument (it would be about a female virtuoso harmonica player who lives in the subway). I first wrote the lyrics, which took a long time to craft, with many re-writes. Then it took a long time before I found the chord progressions and melody that I wanted. Usually songs come to me pretty quickly (within hours) but this song took several weeks to develop. Part of the reason was that my harmonica skills were quite mediocre when I started so I had to greatly improve my playing ability before I could actually produce this song. Composing this song turned out to be a great motivator for practicing the harmonica. For those not familiar with harmonica terminology, both "harp" and "tin sandwich" refer to the harmonica and a "draw" involves bending notes by pulling air in (rather than blowing air out). There are two major types of harp: chromatic and diatonic. Chromatic harps have all 12 tones but it's difficult to bend notes. It's very difficult to get all notes to sound on a diatonic harp but bending notes is much easier, so I use diatonic harps. For this song I actually bound two harps together (one on top of the other - each one in a different key) and I switched back and forth rapidly between them while playing harmonica riffs.


MONICA HARMONICA Michael Dyer © 2009 Monica Harmonica, boy, can she blow. Her harp's so hot, seems to glow. Sought city highs but found subway lows. Gets by, playin' for passin' souls. Monica Harmonica's a bit bizarre. Blows smoke rings through brass reed bars. Sports dirty tattoos and wicked scars. Won't say "Hello", just "Au revoir." Monica Harmonica loves electronica, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and every Hanukkah Loves exotica and Antarctica, some Judaica, And all erotica. Eats tin sandwiches, ev'ry lunch. Munches tin, not just for brunch. Tin she serves up ev'ry night. Tin hors d'oeuvres, at first daylight. Wails on her harp; can draw in so flat. Wails on her harp; can draw in so sharp. Tongues each hole. Her lips do caress. Bends each reed. Her breath, Such finesse. Great harp sucker; her lips do pucker. Whether harps in a loft or under a tarp. Can blow it hard or suck it soft. A sweet-talkin', love-stalkin', Punk-rockin' jock. Street-walkin', drug-hawkin', mind-shockin' babe. Snake's her moniker, ever since that day, I kissed her sister, so guess I gotta pay. Monica, my Monica, now blows me away. Monica, my Monica, blows me away. Monica Harmonica, boy, Can she play.

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