Jerry Portnoy

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Caledonia > Caledonia

Caledonia: An R&B classic originally done by Louis Jordan and his Tympani Five. This song has been performed and recorded by many artists. Here I show you how I play the "Head." The accompanying video has the band playing it in the key of C but once again I play it in the key of F on a Bb harp.

Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Jerry Portnoy
Bb Harp
Key of F
Louis Jordan

Print Print Chords & Tab

I'm playing a Bb harp in the Key of F.


loop @ 2:04 to practice the head 


Here's a video of Louis Jordan playing Caledonia.


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pedro miguel
pedro miguel Sep 29, 2016

Hello from España

joe markey
joe markey Jan 10, 2016


Once again I am drawn to this incredible recording.  I have the opportunity to try to mimmick your amazing harmonica solo in an upcomming gig in Greenwich Village in NYC.  I have the notes down but I can't get that smooth fluttering sound you have at the upper end of the register.  Any tips? Are some harmonica brands better for that type of playing at the upper end of the register (Lee Oscar)?  

Thanks.  Joe in White Plains, NY

Jerry Portnoy
Jerry Portnoy Aug 19, 2014

Ah, to be young again! Glad you liked it. I'm playing a "C" harp in the key of "G", but switch to a "G" harp for the solo.

joe markey
joe markey Aug 18, 2014

The 1978 recording is tremendous!  The band is very tight and of course the harp work is out of this world. really enjoyed it.  Any idea what harp you were playing with? 




B---K Jun 06, 2012

Here is a video of Muddy Waters and his band performing this in Germany in 1978:




joe markey
joe markey Nov 29, 2014

Sorry, but I revisited this video again after a couple of months and have to say how great it is.  Muddy is good of course but the guitar and harmonica are incredible.  Thanks!

Rich G
Rich G Jun 05, 2012

That sounds like a messy situation Jerry. It is a shame if you guys didn't get paid for the album (I am guessing with a bootleg that would be the case). I still have to say I like the album, though, particularly your harp playing.   And on Caledonia there is intersting dialogue between Muddy Waters and (I'm guessing) Pinetop Perkins.

Jerry Portnoy
Jerry Portnoy Jun 05, 2012

Yeah, that's a bootleg. The Polish authorities lied to Muddy. It was never supposed to be released in any commercial form and, to tell the truth, I wish it hadn't.

Rich G
Rich G Jun 04, 2012

Hi Jerry,  I did some searching and you are listed on the album I have. The album is called "Hootchie Cootchie Man Live," aLthough apparently it's been marketed uother names names. The description I found said it was from the"Jazz Jamboree"in Prague in1976. Among the musicians it lists you, Bob Margolin, Pinetop Perkins, Luther Johnson, Calvin Jones! Willie Smith, and, of course, Muddy Waters. Anyway, I love the version of this song (and others on the album, particularly, Hootchie Cootchie Man).




Jerry Portnoy
Jerry Portnoy Jun 04, 2012

To Jancortes: Stick with it. Persistence pays off in music as well as many areas of life!


To Rich: I'm not sure that I know to which album you're referring, so I don't know if that's me or not who's playing Caledonia on that album. I certainly did it live many times but can't remenber recording it. There are many live "bootlegs" of Muddy and it's possible this album is one of them and that it's me playing harp. I'd have to hear it to know for sure.


To Boyd: Many of the tunes you mention are on my list to address at some point, hopefully soon. I'm going to show a few more heads and then I might break down some more songs and solos from the classic Chicago Blues repertoire including some of those you mention. Stay tuned.

Jancortes May 26, 2012

Thanks for the videos, i was ready to quit , but i think i will give it another try, some times i get so piss off with that little thing , thanks from spain 

Rich G
Rich G May 25, 2012


What a great song - Louis Jordan and his band are terrific!  I've been aware of it through the Muddy Waters version on Hootchie Coochie Live.  Were you the harp player on that album?  I believe the song on that album is in the key G with the harp a C in second position.  Is there anything different about the harp sequence on that (Muddy's) version?

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