‘Harmonica’ FRANK FLOYD
Blues music sometimes reveals strange characters with extraordinary skills, but few were more talented than ‘Harmonica Frank’ Floyd. When Rice ‘Sonny Boy II’ Miller amazed world audiences in the 60s by playing a Blues tune on a harp stuck in his mouth like a cigar, he was pulling one third of a trick regularly performed by Frank, who would do that while playing guitar and singing his endlessly entertaining and witty songs at the same time!
Frank sings ‘Rockin’ Chair Daddy’ with a harp in his mouth!
At the age of 42, Frank finally got to make some records of his fine and funny compositions at Sam Phillips‘ Memphis Recording Services in 1951. Sam leased the tapes to Chess Records, and Frank’s first three records were released on the famous blue and white label. When Sam started Sun Records, a couple of Frank’s tracks were among his first releases, including ‘The Great Medical Menagerist’ from his medicine show days. In 1957, Frank and his friend Larry Kennon formed the F+L label which issued several duets and solo efforts, but somebody “stole the label” and left them broke.
After a further 17 years, Frank was recorded by George Paulus in Chicago for the Barrelhouse label, putting down 16 tracks on his ‘Blues that Made the Rooster Dance’ album. Frank had also recorded several sessions for Steve LaVere over the previous couple of years, resulting in a self-named album on Adelphi label, and a further album ‘The Great Menagerist’ was released many years later. A live album recorded in 1979 at Bartlett High School in Memphis later appeared as ‘The Missing Link’, but by then Frank’s health was failing. He lost a leg to diabetes, and passed away in Blanchester, Ohio in 1984.