National Poetry Day 2015 – Borrah Minevitch and the Rascals

Dedicated to Borrah Minevitch – Johnny Puleo and all Harmonica Rascals

Borrah Minevitch Rascals
Borrah Minevitch Rascals

Although regarded by some folk
as crude and simple toys
the pleasure of harmonica
were shared by scores of boys

A youth called Borrah Minevitch
selling papers on the street
would play mouth-organ melodies
his customers to treat

In a theatre show on Broadway
to appear he got the chance
a stepping stone to stardom
and stagecraft to enhance

But the showmanship of Minevitch
Borrah’s unique brand
lay dormant in his solo act
untill he formed a band

At first a youthful orchestra
who’s numbers were too great
but the ‘master’ pruned the players down
and “his Rascals” did create

The talent of its players
shot the group to fame
through ‘stage’ and ‘screen’ and ‘radio’
soon a household name

Leo, Abe and Fuzzy
Ernie, Hal and Mike
just six of the originals
we’ll never see their like

The ‘maestro’ was the figurehead
who always took ‘spotlight’
with little Johnny Puleo
his constant scourge and blight

Vaudeville and music-hall
short ‘movies’ for the ‘flicks’
they played a London symphony
in nineteen thirty six

The century’s almost over
our offsprings want for nought
but will they every feel the joy
that “Borrah’s Rascals” brought

© Brian L. Holland August 1997

Pat Missin’s Website – the ultimate harmonica resource

Pat Missin has created the best harmonica site on the internet. Everyone ought to visit it at least once so they are aware of the vast amount of knowledge he has assembled on all aspects of harmonica.

One web page contains a selection of vintage harmonica performances recorded between 1904 and 1940. It includes recordings and historical information about Pete Hampton, Professor Dickens,  Arthur Turelly, H. J. Woodall, Henry Whitter, Borrah Minevitch, Moore and Freed, Sandlin Brothers, William Haussler, Haussler and Coutlee , W.V. Robinson, W.W. MacBeth, Gwen Foster, Willie “Red” Newman, John Sebastian and Rhythm Willie.