The Fabulous Furry Harmonica Brothers band plays Hardyston

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:51

    hardyston - Hardyston's faithful concertgoers gathered on Saturday evening to hear the Fabulous Furry Harmonica Brothers'Jug band. The free concert, the fourth in Hardyston's popular Summer Series in the Park, drew a crowd of about 75 enthusiastic souls, including children and dogs, to delight in the band's unique mix of jug band, Delta blues, country, ragtime and blue grass. This group of talented musicians creates its special all-American sound with a remarkable array of instruments, featuring band leader Ralph Litwin on the banjo, jug and harmonica; his son Eli Litwin on washboard, washtub and cardboard box; Lew Gelford on the fiddle and mandolin; Mike Esposito on the dobra; and Alan Podber on the guitar and mandolin. Bandleader Ralph Litwin says he has been playing music since he was "knee high to a frog."  A virtuoso banjo player and singer, Litwin also is an accomplished guitarist and player of the harmonica and ukulele. In addition, he punctuates his performances with cracker-barrel wisdom and wit and a repertoire of tall tales, jokes, and anecdotes. Guitarist and mandolinist Alan Podber has deep roots in the area, having formed and old-time string group, the Delaware Water Gap String Band in 1972. "Our choice of American music from country dance tunes, early ragtime, and string swing was a kaleidoscope of the music culture of America." Award-winning fiddler Lew Gelfond says such giants of bluegrass as Vassar Clemens and Papa John Creech have influenced his fiddling style. The band ended its concert - far too soon for the enthralled audience - with a lively, sing-along rendition Cab Calloway's 1931 hit song, "Minnie the Moocher." Among the crowd were James Bark and Elizabeth Smith, who've made a tradition of attending Hardyston's summer concert series. "I took Elizabeth to my senior prom," said Bark. "The years passed, and we lost touch with each other. "A few years ago, we ran into one another while shopping at Costco, and we each recognized the other immediately. "Things like this don't happen in real life, only in the movies. But it happened to us," said Bark, as he caressed Pepper, his border collie-mixed breed. "I come because I love music," said Christina Kuzma, who was enjoying the concert from the comfort of a cobalt blue sliding board. The next free concert in the series, at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 6 at the Sports and Recreation Complex on Wheatsworth Road, will showcase the Class of '57 Band, masters of 1950s' vocal harmony. For more information, call 973-827-9334 or 973-827-9796.