Talent scouts roamed America looking for musicians to record in the '20s and '30s, and fancy harmonica players such as George Clarke were just the type of thing they were looking for. The idea was to replicate, on recordings, the type of music people were used to hearing performed at social events all around their community. Clarke is known to have made a total of three recordings, all of which have been reissued on a pair of harmonica compilations,
Harp Blowers and Harmonica Blues.
It is a tradition in blues scholarship to draw conclusions based on song titles and lyrics, the mention of a town or even the name of a bridge sometimes helping musicologists to locate a long-lost performer. While Clarke was never rediscovered following his 1936 recording sessions, the titles of his pieces indicate that he either had some legal problems or just liked singing about people who did. "Court House Blues" logically leads to "Prisoner Blues," and sadly results in even "More Blues," although in the case of Clarke, there weren't any. Maybe a lack of real talent was a reason. There are harmonica gourmets who have dismissed these recordings as being not particularly inventive, although there is no denying they represent a true slice of musical life from the period. ~ Eugene Chadbourne