When Mojo Webb plays the guitar he can be a howling banshee. Or he can be the super smooth mother cruising down the street, crocodile shoes, purple suit, snappy hat, making most of the ladies smile and some of the men envious, and vice versa. But he can also sound like the last moaning pitiful wails of the heartbroken.
I first saw Mojo at the old Alley Bar. I had heard Mojo on the radio and liked what I had heard. I am tall, skinny and a little shy. I normally only dance when I am performing and in control. I had a drink but I wasn’t drunk. It was Mojo and his band what did it. I got down and when I got back up, I was buying his CD and driving home fast, so I could listen to it.
Next thing, I was emailing Mojo and buying a Hohner Blues Harmonica (no I am not sponsored by Hohner, but would not knock it back) and arranged a lesson. That was the summer of 2005. I spent all of my uni holidays learning that harmonica while watching the cricket with the sound turned down. I finally bent that second hole draw on my C harp after a few weeks, G down to Gb and was an exhilaration I hadn’t had for a while. I also listened to Little Walter over and over again.
As I watched Mojo play, he taught me about blues, about performance, about teasing the crowd, then giving them what they want. Every Friday night at the Pineapple Hotel Mojo played and most of the time I went there. I usually sat and soaked it up, as he twisted, gyrated, exploded and then simmered with his band.
The years since have been punctuated with great Mojo moments. Playing harmonica at the old Monday night Satchmo’s jam in West End, gaining years of experience in three songs; hearing the crowd fall silent as he sung the opening bars of Billy Boy Arnold’s Prisoner’s Plea; swing solos that went for minutes but never lost the punch, never lost my interest, that never said a thing that wasn’t true; or his screaming slide guitar as a packed bar at the Joynt swayed and rocked.
These moments stay with me and always will cos this man plays like the greats and if you haven’t seen him play live, well… I envy the first time you get to see Mojo Webb play. It is something special.