SPAH – The first 20 years

The Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica, SPAH, was founded in 1963 by Earl Collins (1924-88), Gordon Mitchell (1927-2001) and Richard Harris (1938-2015). Fortunately, the youngest member of the trio, Richard Harris, was an enthusiastic photographer and recording engineer so you get a chance to hear the history of SPAH as it was happening.

This blog post is taken from a cassette tape of the soundtrack of a video that Richard made in 1983, from his vast archive of recordings, to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of SPAH. It is tribute to Richard Harris as well as SPAH. Richard was ahead of his time. Without his foresight and hard work this detailed audio history would not have been possible.

Here are Richard’s notes which accompanied the cassette he sent.

SPAH – The First 20-Years – featuring “THE HARMONICA MEN”, trio. Produced and narrated by: Richard Harris.
History of SPAH via music and the spoken word. Relive excerpts from the first SPAH meeting, Dec. 1962. Here the voice of founder Earl Collins, words of wisdom from harmonica greats like Tommy Reilly, Blackie Shackner. Remember firsts such as Richard Hayman’s Harmonica Concerto, April 1978, the first CanSPAH concert November 1965. And the radio and TV programs – a sampling includes the “I’ve Got A Secret” Show and the 8′ harmonica that stumped the panel. But, that’s history – history that will be remembered by early SPAH members and now 20 years later by you. All on a premium cassette in stereo (recorded 1983 converted to digital in 2018).

You can read more about the history of SPAH by visiting the excellent SPAH Archives webpage written by Manfred Wewers.