Little Hatch likely was the best harmonica player ever to make Kansas City home. He died on January 14, 2003 at 81 years-old.
Little Hatch was born Provine Hatch Jr. in Sledge, Mississippi in 1921. He picked up the blues harp [harmonica] when he was just 8 years-old. By his teens after his family had moved to Helena, Arkansas Hatch was under the direct spell of Sonny Boy Williamson II. The Blues and that harmonica overcame him.
‘I slept with it ate with it and everything else I could do with it ‘ Hatch said of his first harmonica in an APO Records interview.
The obsession turned into a profession for Hatch once he added vocals to his act.
The U.S. Navy drafted Hatch in 1942 and he served in World War II until 1946. On his way home to Arkansas, Hatch stopped in Kansas City. He liked the city’s feel Hatch told his family and after meeting a woman he decided to make his home there.
Hatch worked as a trash-hauler owning his own truck and accumulating 65 stops. He worked for Hallmark Cards for 32 years as a security guard and as a mailman earning a pension. But the Kansas City Mayor’s Office declared his birthday October 25th Little Hatch Day because of his Blues.
For more than 40 years Hatch was a Kansas City star. However Hatch’s fame and most of his gigs were limited to Kansas City. APO Records owner Chad Kassem couldn’t believe that Little Hatch wasn’t a recording star when he first saw him perform in the early 1980s. By the late 1990s Kassem had established Blue Heaven Studios and the Blues label APO in Salina, Kansas. He of course remembered Hatch and the two formed a relationship that produced 1998’s Goin Back (APO, 2007) and Rock With Me Baby.
Little Hatch died of natural causes at his home in El Dorado Springs, Missouri. He was 81 years old.