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Blues harmonica.....since 1965!

"....simply superb!"  The Times, London

The Blues is a Journey like no other....

Through the Blues we harness the power to express ourselves and make sense of our time and place. The wail and cry of the harmonica in the Blues can harness that power. It is still today, the instrument that gets closest to distilling the core of blues emotion. The Blues of John O'Leary reaches out to a broad audience and is delivered in the company of passionate like minded musicians. Even after 5 decades playing the blues, John O'Leary's playing has retained all it's fire and passion  Take a look around the site to get to know more about John O'Leary.... blues harmonica at it's most compelling!

the story so far.....

John O'Leary is one of the early exponents of the blues harmonica in the UK. Originally from Ireland, John's family was part of the mass migration to England in the aftermath of World  War 2. In London's thriving jazz clubs of the 1960's, he first heard blues harp legend Cyril Davies with Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated. John bought his first harp in 1962 and initially learned by watching Davies. Inevitably, he discovered the great masters of the instrument John Lee Williamson, Little Walter, Noah Lewis, Big Walter Horton, James Cotton, Sonny Terry and Junior Wells whose influences are still readily discernible in his playing.
John's career has seen his involvement with a wide range bands and musicians over five decades. Beginning in 1965 as a founder member of Savoy Brown's Blues Band through to the present day John O'Leary & Sugarkane, he has continued to maintain a prominent position on the European blues scene.
Over the years John has performed with noted bands and musicians such as Donovan, Noel Redding, Eric Bell, Kim Simmonds, Champion Jack Dupree, Alexis Korner, Roger Chapman, Dave Walker, Tony McPhee, Dave Kelly, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Aynsley Dunbar, Keef "Half Breed" Hartley, Victor Brox, The John Dummer Blues Band & Mainsqueeze. Today, as well as leading his own band Sugarkane, he is concurrently a member of the legendary rockers The Downliners Sect and  co-leader of the John O'Leary-Alan Glen All Star Blues Review; which for the past 10 years has hosted annual tributes to Muddy Waters, Junior Wells and Cyril Davies.
In 2011 and 2013 John was voted No 2 in the harmonica category by BLUES MATTERS magazine's contributors and writers.

On the BANDS page, more information on John's involvement with other bands and musicians both past and present. may be found.
CD available now on Amazon & eBay


01 - Early In The Morning(1).mp3

 

John in new film documentaries + the  latest news.....

 

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John o'Leary blues harmonica.....since 1965




All Rights Reserved - photo Mark Hughes