Jerry Portnoy

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Kidney Stew

Kidney Stew

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Kidney Stew > Kidney Stew

Kidney Stew. This was written and recorded originally by Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson. He played this in the key of Bb on the video but I demonstrate it in the key of F in 2nd position on an Bb harp. The theme or "Head" lays very well for the harp. "Head" tunes and horn players are a great musical resource for the harp. Bb harp in the Key of F.

Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Jerry Portnoy
Kidney Stew
Bb Harp
Key of F
Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson

Print Print Chords & Tab

Bb harp in the Key of F.


loop @ 2:58 to sing the head with Jerry


loop @ 3:58 to practice playing the head with Jerry


Here's a video of Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson doing Kidney Stew.


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Mike Caren
Mike Caren May 24, 2012

@Ben & Rich ... Hey Guys.  I totally agree that getting it in your head is the way to go.  After hearing Jerry talk about it I know do it on guitar and it has worked wonders for my playing.   The biggest improvement is in my phrasing and timing ... although it helps in all respects.

Also .. wanted to let you know that Jerry is touring through South America right now

.. he will be back next week.  He recorded a lesson for this week before leaving ... which I will post shortly.

Rich G
Rich G May 20, 2012

Here is another great example of mimicing another instrument with a harp - Little Boy Blue by Big Walter and Carey Bell.


Rich G
Rich G May 20, 2012

A very cool song!  For me, this lesson illustrated one of the most basic lessons that Jerry talks about - get the song in your head first.  A friend of mine, Brian Lee, plays this song regularly in his gigs, so I have heard it quite a few times.  With the song in my memory, it was easy to pick up a harp (Eb in 2nd) and play along with "Cleanhead."  Brian, who is a great harp player, usually plays guitar and sings when he does the song.  For him, it fits better into his trio - guitar, drums and bass - a setting where he normally plays more guitar than harp (as opposed to his four piece set up which includes another guitarists.  Another thing I liked about this lesson was the personal connection with Vinson that Jerry talked about.  Information like that really brings the history of blues alive for me.

bencohen99 May 19, 2012

Hi Jerry, -- Great lesson!  I've been going out to listen to a lot of music lately and have occasionally thought about what it would be like to try to mimic on the harp what another instrument is doing.  This lesson is a good example of that, and now that I see how it's done I hope to explore this possibility from time to time on my own.  In a number of the lessons you've mentioned the importance of singing the notes before playing them on the harp.  This is probably the first time I've really done justice to that idea in a concentrated way -- I looped and sang the "head" along with you several times before attempting it on the harp.  I believe it made it easier to play it by having the melody clearly in mind.  Thanks. -- Ben.

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