Deford Bailey is one of the true pioneer of the harmonica. He was part of the vast recording campaigns done in the 1920s that left us so many blues and folk recordings from artists who remained unknown or made a career. Deford Bailey was one of the most popular artist at the Grand ole Opry of Nashville. He made 2 major recordings in 1927 and 1928 among which we enjoy most particularly John Henry and maybe the best train imitation ever Pan american blues. He is doing a very short version of Pan american Blues here in this rare video :
A few interesting facts he holds the harmonica with only one hand (the left hand), plays several double stop where he bends the lower note of the two. This version is played on a G harmonica.
On other tracks we can hear him shout and answer his harmonica in rhythm, a trait that Sonny Terry became famous for long after. PBS recently made a documentary on harmonica pioneer Deford Bailey.