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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Doug "Badman" Randall RIP

The Chicago harmonica community has lost another stalwart. Doug Randall played just about every type of harmonica invented - not just the little diatonic "blues harp" that has entered the American mainstream, but the chromatic harmonica and even the bass harmonica. Doug was a killer blues player, but he could lay down the Harmonicats stuff, too ("Peg o' My Heart", "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White," etc.). They called him the "Badman" because he looked a bit crazed - a wicked toothy smile, the mustache, combined with hair-raising stories of a mis-spent youth. He always would reach out to a fellow harp player - a warm, kind-hearted person. As the years passed, Doug ratcheted back his lifestyle - he quit smoking and drinking. His work with a local band here, Big G and the Real Deal, was intense and edgy.

Liver cancer snatched Doug. He kept his condition under wraps - very few people knew of his illness. He played up until the very end.

This has been a tough spring for Chicago harmonica fans - first we lose Harmonica Kahn in March, now Doug Randall.

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