Since it has been a while since someone posted a nice live old school blues video here on MBH, I thought I would post one with Kim Wilson, whom I feel is the best living blues harmonica player (with no disrespect to Billy Branch, Jerry Portnoy, or Rick Estrin), in my humble opinion.
Kim plays harp on this video from 40 years ago (and like he still does today), which is raw straight forward blues, just like how Little Walter did it before him.
No OB's. No pedals or gimmicks for changing your sound. Just Kim blowing through his harp into a mic and amp.
Damn straight Blind Melon.. a couple months back Cadillac Zack held a birthday party show for Kim at Malianeys in Long Beach. Kim played, backed by Kid Anderson and Jerry Jamont. He’s even better now than he was in the video. I’m so glad I got to be there before this lockdown!
I think Kim Wilson may be “the best” traditional style player-If u equate traditional with “Little Walter”—Mark Hummel as well When I get to far away from that Traditional [Tongue block w/--- back beat—tongue pulls-slaps-flutters—trills-PLAYING PRIMARILY HOLES 1-6 etc]
I find my Little Walter songs and instructional cd---my Rick estrin songs and instructional cd—and especially my “Mark Hummel song and Instructional cd” and get grounded again. My playing gets very sloppy, when I do my own thing to much. Practicing to these more traditional players, tightens me up and pulls the reigns in.
My favorite Blues player alive is Rod Piazza, I saw him about 35 years ago playing at a bar in Mammoth Lakes, Ca-------He did an a Capella harp solo, walking around the room. At that time I could go maybe 2o seconds acapella, b4 I would be boring. He played 3-5 minutes or more, never got boring. 5-6 12 bar go rounds maybe more.
I don't know if I'd say Kim Wilson is the greatest living blues harmonica player, since I have so many heros who are very much still with us who I hold in near-equal regard. It changes week to week, I guess, as I'm sure it does with many of us. Wilson, though, is of the very few of the many hundreds of professional playes I have heard who often makes me forgot whatever assertions I've made in the past--you know, all the allegedly non-negotiable views about who is greatest, the best, the most untouchable-- and believe, for a while, that he is the only person alive who still knows how to make the instrument sound like the old masters did. That is to say that I believe Wilson is among the very best , a cat who is both traditional in his harmonica sound, but unique in his style and very up to date with his material. ---------- www.ted-burke.com
Kim is no doubt a major mover in the harp playing world. For my money though- I am seriously old school mostly- I don't care for specially tuned harps. Kim along with some others rely on gadgetry in their actual instruments. Sure, I have some low tuned harps but when I think of what Cotton, Carey Bell, Sonny Terry, and others did with ootb harps, that's where I prefer to live. ---------- Music and travel destroy prejudice.
Ok, IMO Kim Wilson is ranks up there with the best of em dead or alive. His newer stuff is off the charts & his up beat groove is very enjoyable. He's got LW chops but a bit more modern I really like the groove He lays down with His band. I saw Him several times years & years ago with T-birds & prefer his music now but I haven't seen live since forever. Lou
Jbone, I don’t know what you mean about KW relying on gadgetry. I really don’t. Do you say that because people are always curious about his gear and have discussed some preamp pedals and other anti-feedback approaches he has used?
Kim Wilson plays Filisko custom harmonicas. As far as i know Kim's harps are all standard tunings. He does use a Low F on "Your Funeral and My Trial" on the My Blues cd. I will be speaking with Joe this weekend,so I will pose the question to him.