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Friday, March 9, 2012

Head, Hands, & Feet

As well as playing a dozen musical instruments and singing the blues, iconic Victoria musician and entertainer Dave Harris has recently added another string to his bow. He has completed a monumental work, a veritable encyclopedia of One Man Bands, entitled, "Head, Hands, & Feet: A Book of One Man Bands." I am pleased to present a short review of this book by ricky JaK, local music journalist.

Heads, Hands, & Feet by Dave Harris
OMG someone has finally compiled a book on OMB. In today’s modern world I frequently browse the internet for interesting music. Recently I discovered a video of 5 people playing one guitar, amazing it is but something I have never thought of checking out is OMB. WTF is OMB you are probably thinking. OMB means “One Man Band.” Recently this heavy book was placed on my kitchen table on just this genre of playing music. I have to say my own personal experience of seeing a one man band is the bearded hippy guy that plays his one man band in the inner harbor of my hometown Victoria…. and oddly enough this very one man band is Dave Harris the author of this book! Dave has been playing in our harbor for as long as I can remember. Dave researched this OMB hardcover book that clocks in at over 400 pages of text and photos. The book starts with some history dating back to the 1700’s, it then flows into a visual of instruments a one man band would use. Apparatus, back rigs, foot drums, guitars, harmonicas, horns, washboards and kazoos are all shown. Then the book takes you on a worldwide journey from the USA to the UK. The book also takes you from the Blues, Folk, Country, to Punk. No stone is left unturned and this book is hard to digest in just one sitting, it will supply days of reading. One downside of this book does not come with a LP record or a CD, but what it does come with is most of the websites of every performer. This means I just spent my afternoon listening to Jesse Fuller, DR Ross, Hasil Adkins, Bob Log III, to Joe Buck Yourself. Even a few OWBs “One Woman Bands” are represented as well as hundreds of other OMBs from all over. Amazing it is and if you’re a music fan and have never ventured into the world of OMB, this book is your gateway to hours of absolute one man music.

-ricky JaK (journalist for Absolute Underground, Offbeat, Journal of Madness, Verbal Abuse, Zort, and one of the compilers of the Monday Magazine award winning book “All Your Ears Can Hear” Victoria Underground Music 1977- 1984.) shameless plugs.

Head, Hands, & Feet is available in Victoria from Ditch Records, Fort Street at Blanshard, and from Turntable Records in Fan Tan Alley (Chinatown). Online it can be bought through the One Man Band Book blog at


Dean Lewis said...

Congratulations to Dave Harris for completing such an ambitious undertaking, one undoubtedly a labour of love for him.
Let's hope his book makes its way into music and bookstores far and wide.

JoJo said...

What a cool book! I'd love to read it myself! I'm sure I've seen him before along the Causeway. Beautiful pic by the the sky.

Jack said...

The first photo is out of this world~

Benjamin Madison said...

@Dean - I agree!
@JoJo - It's a fascinating book. As ricky says - it's easy to get lost in it for hours.
@Jack- Thanks, it's a favourite of mine too and it's also one that Dave uses in the book.