Tony Glover was an incredible blues harpist and a major figure in the music scene in Minneapolis. Mick Jagger and John Lennon learned to play blues harp from Tony and his “Blues Harp” book. In the late ‘60s Tony took over the all-night “underground” shift at KDWB AM. While Dave and John were outgoing, Tony was quiet and reserved with a great radio voice.
Tony Glover, Master of the Blues Harmonica, Is Dead at 79
By Richard Sandomir | New York Times | June 5, 2019
Tony Glover, a harmonica player who as a member of the group Koerner, Ray and Glover was at the center of the folk music revival of the 1960s and helped introduce a new audience to the blues, died on May 29 in a hospital in St. Paul. He was 79.
A reserved man who rarely smiled, Mr. Glover emerged from the post-beatnik coffeehouse scene in Minneapolis that also helped nurture Bob Dylan, with whom he occasionally played. He was well regarded for his harmonica playing — far more than Mr. Dylan was.
“I couldn’t play like Glover or anything and I didn’t try to,” Mr. Dylan wrote in his memoir “Chronicles, Volume One” (2004). “I played mostly like Woody Guthrie and that was about it. Glover’s playing was well known and talked about around town, but nobody commented on mine.”
Mr. Glover called himself Little Sun — a play on the names of other harmonica players named Sonny — and in 1963 he and the guitarists and singers Dave Snaker Ray and Spider John Koerner began performing together, inspired by bluesmen like Lead Belly and Muddy Waters.
While they could come close to sounding like the blues musicians they idolized, they had a distinctive quality of their own, forged from a mix of down-home blues, ragtime, string-band music and country folk.
“They were the finest white blues group in the entire folk revival of the era,” the critic Dave Marsh wrote in “The Rolling Stone Record Guide” (1979). They were, he added, “highly influential on aficionados of black American folk music.”
In addition to his work with Mr. Koerner and Mr. Ray, who died in 2002, Mr. Glover had a sideline as a writer. Building on his Dylan expertise, he wrote the liner notes for “Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The Royal Albert Hall Concert,” a two-CD set.
He also wrote liner notes for other musicians, including Mr. Koerner, and blues and rock harmonica instruction books. He collaborated on “Blues With a Feeling” (2002), a biography of the blues musician Little Walter, with Scott Dirks and Ward Gaines. And he wrote criticism, notably for Rolling Stone, which published his reviews of albums by Bonnie Raitt, the Allman Brothers, Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix.