Bashful Harmonica Joe

b. Joseph Troyan, 25 March 1913, Pleasant City, Ohio, USA, d. 24 June 2000. Troyan learned to play harmonica as a child and he also possessed a natural ability to imitate birds, animals and humans. In…
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Artist Biography

b. Joseph Troyan, 25 March 1913, Pleasant City, Ohio, USA, d. 24 June 2000. Troyan learned to play harmonica as a child and he also possessed a natural ability to imitate birds, animals and humans. In 1929, his mother relocated with her eight children to Cleveland, where Joe made his debut on local radio. He acquired his nickname of Bashful owing to a severe attack of stage fright early in his career. The audience thought his heavy swallowing and hiding behind the curtains was all part of the act and laughed so he decided to adopt it ever after. He worked for over a year on Lum And Abner’s Friday Night Sociable before Bradley Kincaid made him a regular on his show. In 1936, he began to work with Pie Plant Pete, whom he had first met in Cleveland in 1935. They worked stations in Cleveland, Boston and Rochester, before their career was interrupted by World War II (Pete served briefly in the Quartermaster Corps but was discharged owing to his age and they resumed their partnership in Cleveland). In 1942, Joe joined the US Air Force and spent most of his time entertaining his fellow servicemen. After the war, they relaunched their partnership, working at Cleveland, Rochester and Detroit. In 1947, they recorded 20 sides for Process Records of Buffalo, New York, which were released as 10 singles. After they ended their partnership, Joe worked solo for a time but eventually retired to live in Cleveland. In 1989, Cattle Records of Germany issued an album containing all their Process recordings.