A harmonica trio with Jerry Murad on lead, Al Fiore on chording, and Don Les on bass, the Harmonicats had a massive number one hit in 1947 with "Peg O' My Heart," and remained popular through the 1950s, even getting a Top 20 album (Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White) as late as 1961. Applying their harmonica arrangements mostly to popular standards, their sound was unusual for that (or indeed any) era, achieving a full ensemble effect via instruments that are rarely used in tandem in popular music. Heard several decades later, their material undoubtedly has a dated novelty aspect -- they preferred sentimental tunes that can sound corny to later generations -- but can also sound fresh, due to the unusual instrumentation. The Harmonicats were still recording for Columbia in the late '60s and tried their hand at contemporary material like "Blowin' in the Wind" and "Get Off of My Cloud" on their 1966 LP What's New, Harmonicats?. The Harmonicats continued performing even after the Murad's death in 1996. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
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