- THIS PAGE CONTAINS - 
 
- F & L Records -
- Harmonica Frank Floyd -

F & L RECORDS - Founded in March 1958. The label was owned by Frank Floyd and Larry Kennon. Only one record is recorded on this label, on side-A Frank Floyd knocks out brilliant rolling country blues cut "Rock A Little Baby", which features hot acoustic guitar, washboard rhythm and upright bass, and on side-B Larry Kennon wants to make some "Monkey Love" (F-100). Frank Floyd, known as "Harmonica Frank" had recorded on the Sun label in 1954, ''The Great Medical Menagerist'' b/w ''Rockin' Chair Daddy'' Sun 205.

HARMONICA FRANK - KING OF HARPS - Frank Floyd, born to Reuben Brewster Floyd and   Estella Miles in Toccopola, Pontotoc County, Mississippi, on October 11, 1908, was nicknamed   "Shak" (he was never christened with a formal name). Also known as "Rambling King" and   "The Silly Kid". Frank Floyd was one of 3 children and he raised and worked on the farm from   his childhood, and he taught himself the harmonica at 10 years of age. He spent his earliest   years with his grandparents in rural Arkansas, left home in 1922, and rambled throughout   much of the Depression.
 
 
He left home in 1922 and adopted the name Frank Floyd. Frank   joined a carnival in the early 1920s and played for nickels and dimes on street corners. Floyd was frequent and working as comedian, singing harmonicist in carnivals, amateur   shows, on the streets in honky tonk bars, and parks through the South and Southwest circa   1922 through the end of the 1920s.   He was influenced by DeFord Bailey, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Palmer McAbee and Jimmy   Rodgers, Harmonica Frank worked with the Cole Brothers Carnival through the South in  the late 1920s and toured with the West Motorized Show through the South.
 
In 1932,   Harmonica Frank toured as a one man band with the Happy Phillipson's Medicine Show,   and worked gigs in Juarez in Mexico, appeared with Buster Steele's Log Cabin Wranglers   for KELW-radio in Burbank, California. He also toured with Dr. Hood's Medicine Show   through the South in 1933-34 and appeared on his own show for KLCN-radio in Blytheville,  Arkansas and appeared on KTHS-radio in Hot Springs, Arkansas during the 1930s. In the  early 1940s, Harmonica Frank appeared on WOBT-radio in Union City, Tennessee and   frequently worked outside the music as farmer in the mid-1940s, and frequently toured   with Eddie Hill's Troupe and he appeared on WMC-radio in Memphis, Tennessee during the   late 1940s. In the early 1950s, harmonica Frank appeared on the local radio station in   Valdosta, Georgia and worked in the Rainbow Lake Club in Memphis, Tennessee and   recorded for the Chess label in Memphis, Tennessee in 1951.
 
Having already developed his virtuosity on the harmonica he took up the guitar after   hearing the Singing Brakeman, Jimmie Rodgers. The shtick he developed during his spell   with the Happy Phillipson Medicine Show was faithfully reproduced on Frank's only Sun   record, "The Great Medical Menagerist"/"Rockin' Chair Daddy" (SUN 205), in 1954.   Occasionally, Frank landed a steady gig at a radio station. It was during a short-term gig   with Smilin' Eddie Hill on WMC, Memphis, that he first came to Phillips' attention in 1951.
 
His credibility high in the wake of "Rocket 88" (CHESS 1458), Sam Phillips persuaded the   Chess brothers in Chicago to take two cuts from Harmonica Frank. "Swamp Root" was   coupled with a primordel blues, "Goin' Away Walkin'" was replaced with a cover version of   Bigg Jeff and the Radio Playboys' hit, "Step It Up And Go".
 
By the time Frank's second Chess record was released in January 1952 his steady gig on   WMC had ended, Eddie Hill having left for Nashville. When he recorded for Sun in 1954,   Frank was working at a station in Dyersburg, Tennessee. The Sun single, which coupled the   charmingly anachronistic "Great Medical Menagerist" with "Rockin' Chair Daddy" (SUN 205),   was released at the same time as Elvis Presley's debut - July 1954. It was Presley's record   that sealed Frank's fate. Some reviewers noted that "Rockin' Chair Daddy" was a good   blend of black and white musical styles; the problem was that it blended the black and   withe musical styles of the 1920s.
 
Still sensing that he could be a part of the rockabilly revolution, Frank Floyd auditioned for   Meteor Records on 1794 Chelsea Avenue in Memphis, and then issued a record on the F   and L label, which he co-owned with another would-be rockabilly, Larry Kennon. Frank   took the lead vocal on one side, "Rock A Little Baby", and his partner, Larry Kennon, took   the vocal on the other side, "Monkey Love". They spent days promoting the record, selling   it to variety stores or any one who would take it but sales were very disappointing. Disappointed with its failure, Frank moved to Dallas, started hawking ice cream, and got   out of the music business, he even sold his Martin guitar that he had bought with the $100   cheque from Chess Records.
 
In the early 1960s, Harmonica Frank worked outside in the music in the Dallas, Texas and   the Memphis, Tennessee area. At some point, Frank Floyd returned to Tennessee to work   for his cousin. He married a woman he met through a lonely hearts club and settled in   Millington outside music, near Memphis. It was there, in the early 1970s, that he was   rediscovered by Stephen LaVere, who followed a tortuous path to Frank's door, giving him   a second lease on life as an attraction at folk music festivals. In 1971, Harmonica Frank,   worked at the Mid-South Jamboree, at Linden Circle Theater in Memphis, Tennessee and  play frequently in Mama's Coffeehouse in Memphis during 1972, and appeared at the   University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois, performed at the River City Blues Festival in   Memphis and on the First Church Congregational in Cambridge, Massachusetts from that   same year.
 
In 1972 through 1974, Harmonica Frank Floyd recorded for the Adelphi label in Silver   Spring, Maryland, and toured with the Memphis Blues caravan on concert dates through   the mid-West. In 1974, Frank Floyd appeared and worked at the University of California in   Santa Barbara, California, and the San Diego State University in San Diego, California   (portion remote on KPFK-radio) and recorded in 1975 for the Barrelhouse label in Chicago,   Illinois. For his death, Harmonica Frank Floyd worked frequently in coffeehouses, blues festivals, university concerts through the 1970s.
 
First and last, Frank Floyd was an entertainer: he had learned his craft on countless street   corners, where he had only a few seconds to catchosomeone's attention. That skill   remained intact fifty years later. Floyd's music belongs to the American disenfranchised of   the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. He is a self-proclaimed spokesman for the rounders,   backwoods rebels, poor farmers, sharecroppers, labourers, drifters, hobos and alley   people of that hardtime period.
 
After his rediscovery, Frank Floyd claimed to have invented rock and roll with much the   same cheerful disregard for the facts that Jelly Roll Morton exhibited in claiming to have   invented jazz. Yet when Harmonica Frank Floyd entered the Continental Hospital in   Blanchester, Ohio where he died August 7, 1984 on pneumonia. Harmonica Frank Floyd is   buried at the Clover Cemetery in Bethel, Ohio, and a piece of American musical history   died with him.
 
Only Chris Strachwitz, who runs the Blues Classic label, and Down Home Music, ever paid   him any money for his music. He told blues researcher Steve LaVere, who rediscovered   him in 1972: "I spent a lot of time listening to the darkies in days gone by singing in the   cottonfield down South and I picket up their songs and speech. That is the reason people   think I am a coloured man, But I really am white. I never played with no blacks, but I was a   fan of Blind Lemon Jefferson and Lonnie Johnson".
 
 
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