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Jim "Ribtip" McClarenHearing Paul Butterfield blowing harp on Muddy Waters’ “Fathers and Sons” LP caused thirteen year old Jim Mcclaren to quit learning the guitar and start in on the harmonica. In 1969, Jim went to work as a mechanic in his father’s bowling alley and for the next ten years he spent a lot of time alone with the pin-setting machines. That’s where he learned to play the harp.

With no record player or radio around, he had to learn his musical licks from memory. And it didn’t matter if it was the memory of a guitar, clarinet, piano -- whatever, he tried it on the harmonica. That was his approach to the instrument and explains his unique style.

After twenty-three years with St. Louis’s Soulard Blues Band Jim threw in the towel to form the Baker-McClaren Band with local legend Max Baker on guitar and vocals. McClaren can also be found around town doing a singles gig with the “guitar/harp in a rack” thang.

Jim was Mr. November on the 1986 Hohner Harmonica poster calendar; and plays Hohner Marine Band harmonicas.

Live at Burkhardt’s Tape 1978
Soulard Blues Band LP 1981
Nothing To Lose LP 1986
Gone LP 1992
In the Soulyard CD 1995
Live at the Grizzly Bear CD 1997
Live in Stuttgart 2000

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