Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Busker Days: Mark O'Harps "Good Morning America"

As you might recall, I recorded our last Busker Days installment still underground in the Montgomery BART station. (Man that's a great song!)  Directly following that recording, as I made my way to the surface, some familiar sounds penetrated the early morning coldness. If I wasn't mistaken it was the masterful harmonica work of none other than one Mark O'Harps. He was the first busker I became familiar with back in 2004 when I started making the daily trip to SF for work. Back then I worked near Mission and First and it was on that corner that I would regularly stop and take in his ear-bending improvisational playing. I must confess that ever since I started this field recording effort I had hoped I might get a recording. Well, here was my chance.

Give a listen above to Mark O' as he delivers his (per)version of the classic "City of New Orleans", a song written by Steve Goodman and made famous in 1972 by Arlo Guthrie. It's just Mark O'Harps, his harmonicas, mic and amp, and some percussives on his shoe, playing on Market and Montgomery.


  1. Did he just respond to a car honking?

  2. I am a native SFer, live in the Haight for many years and think it's wonderful you have your website and are posting musician's music on your website! Thank you!
    I've heard Mark O Harps play in my neighborhood-the Haight and it's a real treat, a very giving, fun experience from him to his audience!

  3. Helen, I'm glad you are enjoying the Flip-Side. Mark O is great to see on the street. He has a way of communicating with people passing by - he'll get a smile with his lighthearted word play or alter a tune to fit the moment for example. You get a little of it at the end of this recording. Recently he asked me to record some more of his music and help him compile a CD. I recorded six more songs - all acoustic this time - down in the Montgomery pedestrian tunnel. Some of it is straight blues improv. To alter the tone a bit sometimes he will hold a cardboard tube on the other side of the harp as if it were a mic and play. A real cool trick when playing acoustic. The recordings turned out well and I believe he has been selling it the CD. If you have the chance check it out!