I always knew Alan Wilson was a very good harmonica player, but after hearing this cut from Hooker n Heat, I have a new respect for his talents. John Lee Hooker sings some nasty blues here and Blind Al gets just as low down and dirty. Alan's tone, timing, and feel for the blues are as good as any. I love the fact that what he does in this cut is just "right on" for this song. Not too much, not too little,...just right!
I fully agree on that ! When I made my first steps on this forum nearly one year ago, I asked why Alan Wilson was not on the "honorable mention" list. The subject was discussed for some time, but Blind Owl didn't make it to the list, alas !
Gloth - Wow! I never realised that Alan Wilson wasn't on the "honourable mention" list. That does seem crazy to me that a harp player who was an integral part (arguably the most creative part) of one of the seminal blues (blues rock) band of the time isn't on the list.
If for no other reason (and there are many more reasons) than the use of his alternate tuned harmonica playing from "On the Road Again", he deserves to my mind to be included.
Alan Wilson is to me one of the unsung heroes of the blues harmonica.
The Blind Owl is and always will be one of the best harp players in my book .On Hooker N Heat theres a song called Boogie Chillin No2, It's rather a long song about 11 minutes but Owl does a solo in it that will give you chills. If you get a chance listen to it,You will have new respect for Alan Wilson.
Wilsons best stuff is nuanced to a fair thee well. He had the control and power that any musician might lust for. Also, him and Hook were both the same way in that their music, how they did it, could go right by your ears if you couldn't feel it.
Glad to see others appreciate this man. Just like Hendrix, Joplin, and Morrison he passed away at the age of 27. Blind Owl was not as well known as the other three, but his contributions to the music world are just as significant.
Seen canned heat when I was 16. they played on some kind of home made stage.Ply wood and stuff to support it.Damn. Just to watch someone who feels the blues like they did when they played is some contagious stuff.
I read the same things about him on Wikipedia. What astonished me more is that he recorded with Son House even before he recorded the first Canned Heat album. I would have thought that it was the success of Canned Heat that lead him to play with Son House, but no...
Looking at Adam's five criteria I thought the cuts from Hooker n Heat might qualify as good recorded evidence to get him on the honorable mention list. The Blind Owl may lack a little in technical mastery by some's standards, but he is strong in the other three, ..originality, influence, and soulfulness. John Lee Hooker said he was the greatest. I guess liking his band and their music so much makes me biased. Man, these guys had a groove.
After doing a forum search for Canned Heat and reading what was written about Alan by members that know a lot more about harmonica than me, I doubt he will make the list.
I know it ain't in the criteria.....but for a young man in his 20s to help revive the career of Son House, make an album with John Lee Hooker, and perform at Woodstock...well...sounds pretty special to me.
Alan Wilson was a great harp player. Maybe not in the same class as Little Walter or Big Walter or the two Sonny Boys et al. but a great player nonetheless. Since Wilson died in 1970 at age 27, not many videos of his harp playing exist but a couple of recorded examples that highlight his amplified playing are his harp solo on Partheongenesis (Canned Heat) and Mi Huautla (Canned Heat). For his acoustic harmonica playing, check out the Son House album-Father of the Delta Blues. I think he deserves at least an honorable mention, in my humble opinion.
Last Edited by on Mar 10, 2010 9:27 PM