Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Kim Wilson
Kim Wilson
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289 posts
Nov 18, 2017
11:59 AM
Im presently becoming a fan of his again---He is definitely a master of old school---
Dont no when the instrumental of "lowdown" was made? It is a study of playing holes 1-6 old school style, with great mastery. Not boring
I've gone to far away from that style-- I wanted to learn the entire harp fluidly ascending and descending from holes 1-10, w/ no break---like going from headvoice to regular voice in singing-playing the harp as an instrument not just a blues harp
I miss playing more bluesy old school. I;m breaking “lowdown” down and learning each 12 bar individually
Don’t have it front of me –but I think it has 7--- 12 bar—go arounds with really good turnarounds—No quick change –just straight ahead 12 bar
The turnarounds are really ‘different ‘ and really good old school

The first turnaround –in the first 12 bar is way different than what I’ve played—
The 2nd 12 bar turn around is really cool-it has an ascending draw 1- Dbend 2 and realease—draw bend 3 and release- to D4 maybe a super quick draw release on 4 draw or just draw 4---to draw 5—B6---B5----then super quick down to holes 123 still workin on that part
Whats cool is how the quick descend from B6 to holes 1-3 sound so smooth u cant tell he’s doing it-

So far I’ve learned a lot----- I’ve learned I’ve become weak at ‘ good ol fashion’ lowdown ‘old school blues’ --- very weak
Im way overplaying ---workin on going back to the stuff I’ve always loved J cotton-Sonnyboys—J reed ---Slim harpo—sonny Terry etc—The stuff I studied first
Tools used to learn this stuff
1] Transcribe---“a slowdowner that will tell u tempo as well---u can change keys etc excellent for guitar and harp-=u can isolate and slow down passages-
2] Audacity-- u can record anything on tube or anything u hear---Since I also buy artist cd’s – I don’hate myself I still support these artists –but when I want to learn a song u tube is quick and easy
3] I record all parts I want to learn with audacity –some slow—some normal speed and save them as mp3
4] I Find, or make a backing track similar to what Im learning—
since transcribe will tell u tempo—I can make buy or find a midi or audio track- at same tempo or slower or faster etc
5] Then I burn The song----parts of the song----backing tracks to cd---this way I can bounce back and forth from backing track to his lick –IT IS A LOT HARDER TO RE-APPLY A LICK - TO A BACKTRACK- THAN TO SIMPLY MIRROR HIS PLAYING== same thing applies to sing learn it accapalla W/OUT THE ORIGINAL SINGER
Anyway gonna try n post a video with slowed down turnaround also original on Ab harp raised harp to A harp
Trying to remember how to post

Last Edited by snowman on Nov 18, 2017 12:01 PM
4530 posts
Nov 18, 2017
8:10 PM
so how do you get a track off you tube, in to audacity?
6364 posts
Nov 19, 2017
4:16 AM
Just so that others can follow along:

What's masterful about this sort of instrumental is the way in which it a) sounds like Kim Wilson and nobody else; and b) the way in which it sounds like THIS KW instrumental and no other.

B) happens because he takes the melodic material and implications of the very first chorus and spins the whole thing out of it.

I know very few players, alive or dead, who can do that.


Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition (UNC Press, 2017)

Last Edited by kudzurunner on Nov 19, 2017 4:17 AM
6365 posts
Nov 19, 2017
4:25 AM
snowman, the other thing that you need in order to practice and master this sort of thing is a good mic and amp. This is very decidedly an AMPLIFIED style, although it's bone dry (to my ears). He gets a very strong sound, and getting that strength into your own playing requires a strong acoustic sound AND a mastery of the hands-clasping-mic interface AND a keen knowledge of how to set the amp controls. All of that is evident here.

Edited to add: with headphones on, I hear a very (!) slight reverberation that is, I think, a function either of natural decay in whatever studio he was recording this (i.e., a tiny slapback off the walls) or of using two mics, not one mic, to capture the sound of the amp from two different distances. I've used this same trick: close miking and room-miking the amp. I think he's used mostly room mic.


Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition (UNC Press, 2017)

Last Edited by kudzurunner on Nov 19, 2017 4:30 AM
109 posts
Nov 19, 2017
7:23 AM
1847 set Audacity to record and then play the youtube
4531 posts
Nov 19, 2017
7:31 AM
would that require a mic? or will the file load in to audacity?
218 posts
Nov 19, 2017
7:38 AM
Or instead of recording from YouTube, you could buy the track or the album from Amazon. Kim has mouths to feed, ya know
4532 posts
Nov 19, 2017
7:55 AM
pretty sure i have that album and tigerman too. and smokin' joint as well.
i had several t birds records on vinyl at one time.

i don't bother with that stuff much anymore, i very seldom listen to music in my car.... almost never.

when i am on the computer i flip on you tube.
110 posts
Nov 19, 2017
9:44 AM
1847 no mic, goes directly to Audacity. As to the ethics of free recordings I'm sure much of what is on youtube is not available for purchase
4534 posts
Nov 19, 2017
10:23 AM
jacks or better to open...

i have that's life... jimmy rodgers blues blues blues,
and i'll raise you blues harp melt down.


what records to you have?
4535 posts
Nov 19, 2017
11:42 AM
i get this message

333 posts
Nov 19, 2017
12:45 PM
1847, I use an app called "Youtube to mp3", works great.

I love the way KW exhales with those little percussive puffs of air. Funny how those little things start to hook you after awhile..

snowman, good stuff man, play the blues!

4' 4+ 3' 2~~~
-Mike Ziemba
Harmonica is Life!
4536 posts
Nov 19, 2017
1:23 PM
i have used some of those apps. before, and got a "real" nasty virus.
so one needs to be very careful.

i have that recording so i can drop in in audacity no problem. i have never really studied kim too much. its about time i did.

if i can burn this track 12 bars at a time on to cd and play it in my car,
i would learn a tremendous amount.

perhaps i will go hear him play wed. possibly even buy his new release.
jon ackinson is on the new recording and i am a big fan of his.

this is a great kim wilson track... why get up. did he write this?

hope he plays this wed.
3114 posts
Nov 19, 2017
5:26 PM
Nope-Kim did not write "Why Get Up" -Bill Carter did-

Last Edited by tmf714 on Nov 19, 2017 5:28 PM
219 posts
Nov 20, 2017
5:52 AM
Back on the original topic of Lowdown, right at the end of the recording, you can hear a comment made by someone in the studio saying "you got something there, bubba"...I've always thought that part was pretty cool.

Lowdown is probably my favorite KW instrumental (certainly worth learning note-for-note), although I'm also a big fan of Hunch Rhythm and Smokin' Joint, among others. I have not had a chance to see him do a blues gig (T-Birds, yes), but I get the impression that whenever he does one of these instrumentals, it's more of a one-off thing, and he never plays it remotely the same way again. Is this how he does it? However I have seen him do the 10-minute solo harp thing at T-Birds gigs, and a lot of those are pretty similar to each other.
290 posts
Nov 20, 2017
2:56 PM
kudzrunner---I agree that --with old school stuff like this------- -tone--- mic ---amp settings etc are super important for the "chicago" sound---octave splits-tongue slaps- backbeat stuff sounds much bluesier-gritty with ‘chicago tone ‘

---sounds kinda dead through pa with regular mic—If Im forced to play through pa with vocal mic I play completely differently---more country style

I have been mostly a rack player --so didn't try for "chicago" tone or worry about it-b cuz when solo I do a lot of songs that don’t sound well dirty-“summertime” Back to the city”
[ “Don’t let me be misunderstood-“use D nat minor harp]
—I shot sheriff--etc

Now I sometimes play in a band with; 1 guitarist, bass, drums n me--- The guitar player is about my level -good and bluesy on med and slow blues --but not as strong on fast stuff, on guitar that is----So when he plays lead, I try to play low volume background octave splits on the 1 4 n 5----I don’t want u to know its there---but miss it, if it is not there---

At any rate My Chicago sound is now ; bullet with rebuilt cm element—Samson wireless---lone wolf terminator -lone wolf harp shield-Lone wolf delay w/ slapback- -- I keep the Lone Wolf Mojo Pad” on top of amp- so mojo is last in chain b4 amps pre-amp---
the “Mojo pad” works --- basically cuts the strength of the signal coming in-- so amp works harder—pt being u have to turn yr volume up, on the amp to hear it –if u were at 3-4 with volume,b4 using mojo----yr now at 7-9 on volume with more dirt cuz tubes being driven—
Then finally in effects loop on amp I use “BBE sonic stomp’ for leads

I bought a fake fender bassman---a Peavy classic 4x10-I go it for guitar as well-new is $600 less than a used bassman -----Peavy has a 2 clean and 2 dirt channels—as well as spring reverb-5 things bassman doesn't have--it also has an effects in and out --bassman effects loop???
Greg Landry said to use the clean channel with his pedals----I found the dirt channel w/ low drive was better----
In my pedal chain I have a lone wolf tone+----lw harp shield---lone wolf harp octave that I use through pa or an overly clean amp , but don’t use with the peavy
I love the Chicago tone--- w/slapback and little reverb-

Audacity---u’ll see in the middle 2----drop down box’s the one with the mic is for recording select speakers---it will then record what speakers are playing
U may have an internal mic option to record from ‘ only use that for yr talking----use “spesakers” to record u tube—

ps 99 % of the stuff I record I have on a cd-but its in my storage----so when I decide I want to learn “lowdown” I record it on u tube rather than 1] drive to storage—2] lift crates off cd crate—3] go through all my cd’s to find Kim Wilson --on n on

Last Edited by snowman on Nov 20, 2017 3:05 PM
4537 posts
Nov 20, 2017
3:35 PM
it say check input device setting. where do i find that?
4538 posts
Nov 20, 2017
3:57 PM

that did the trick. i never new you could do this. much easier than recording with my recorder uploading the file then dropping it in to audacity,

this will make things really easy to study.
4545 posts
Nov 29, 2017
10:51 PM

if you have big ears, then listen to this.
179 posts
Nov 30, 2017
12:21 PM
Reminder: Kim Wilson’s Blues All-Stars are playing Malarkey’s in Long Beach this Sunday. See y’all there!
1627 posts
Nov 30, 2017
1:03 PM

Thanks for embedding the video about enabling the sound card directly to Audacity! I previously had it working on my old XP netbook, but I couldn't figure out how to get it working in my Windows 10 laptop.

Now it works, and I can create MP3s for myself of YouTube videos that are recorded when I play with local groups!

Doug S.

Last Edited by dougharps on Nov 30, 2017 1:06 PM
4548 posts
Nov 30, 2017
9:13 PM
don't thank me, thank snowman... i had no idea you could do that in audacity.

i would take a mic and record the speaker. that works as well, but this is much simpler.

where was this kind of thing when we were younger, when it would of have mattered?

at this stage of the game, it is just as little walter would say .... it's too late ... it's too late .... it's too late.

you're sure good lookin... but i can't stand you're cookin... i,m gone
4549 posts
Dec 01, 2017
8:41 AM
220 posts
Dec 03, 2017
11:12 AM
My guitar player buddy just hipped me to a batch of live performance videos of Dave Myers featuring Kim Wilson from 1997. Very tasty stuff, and look what happens to Kim towards the beginning of this one (I know I've done that a time or two as well):

4555 posts
Dec 04, 2017
8:03 AM
that has happened to me on many occasions. so i started to tape the connection to prevent that from happening. however everytimei did so i would have some sort of issue, the mic would break the cable would short out, it was always something. so i finally broke down and bought one of these...


they are pricey but well worth it.

Last Edited by 1847 on Dec 04, 2017 1:58 PM
180 posts
Dec 04, 2017
12:05 PM
Kim Wilson & his Blues All Stars played Malarkeys last night. It was a ripper of a show. Kim played & sang his ass off, and the band, esp. Big Jon Atkinson & Billy Flynn on guitars, were tight. Highlights (for me) were Snatch It Back and Hold It, Get Your Hand out of My Pocket, Scratch My Back, and a really rocking harp-less version of Back In the USA.

Have to point out that the audience skewed older & whiter - the latter maybe not such a surprise in Orange County CA. Other than family of the band, I think my 50 year old wife was one the youngest attendees.
The Iceman
3415 posts
Dec 04, 2017
1:45 PM
I've noticed how old the crowd has gotten at blues shows like this as well as a blues jam session I checked out in Savannah....white hair crowd reminded me of the old videos of SPAH in the 90's when the camera panned back from a performance of Blackie Shackner to show the audience.

So, maybe blues like this only seems to interest old folk these days....what happens when they all die off??
The Iceman

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