Re: How Does He Do It?
Joe Terrasi writes:
> Damn, but you gotta love Winslow's answers!
Amen. We're all learning a lot from Winslow.
Winslow, your answer is beautifully specific and daunting. It falls
into the rough category of "first do this nearly impossible thing,
then do this other nearly impossible thing, and then do them one after
another, back and forth, at dazzling speed." I look at your diagram
of the single-hole-block, | C | X | G |, and sigh -- it looks
so generously large on the screen, but when I get the harp in my mouth
and try it I might as well be trying to pick a lock with my tongue.
Daunting though it is, the details give me something I can work on
and, in time, I may master them. This is very different from the
answer I got from Kim Wilson, himself, last night, backstage at the
House Of Blues in Cambridge. I tried to put the question to him but I
had a tough time making myself understood in describing the effect. I
never fully succeeded, not for lack of trying or lack of his interest
or patience. When he got the jist of it he said it probably entailed
flicking the tongue from side to side.
During his first set he did a long solo, a capella save for the
drummer beating his sticks together. He made heavy use of tongue
lifts, on and off the bottom notes of a wide embouchure. He did them
in succession on different chords and kept up a great chugging,
syncopated rhythm against long wailing high notes. When we talked
about the "split tremelo" he mentioned that this tongue lifting is
fairly new with him. I took advantage of the chance to ask his
opinion of tongue blocking vs. pucker in general -- does he use one or
the other primarily? No, he answered, "I just wing it, mix it all up,
use whatever feels right. All these different things give different
sounds and it's important to get a big variety."
A few observations about his performance... He used a bullet mic
plugged into a Fender Concert Amp (4 10" speakers). No volume control
on the mic, no effects boxes. He left his controls around the same
settings all evening: volume at 2 o'clock, treble at 10 o'clock, bass
at 2 o'clock. [I assume this means a volume setting around 7; how he
cranks it that high without feedback is a mystery.] His amp was
mic'ed to the house PA. His tone is always thick with a kind of icy
frosting of high frequencies. He works hard and looks very fit --
he's lean and muscular -- a great accomplishment for someone who has
been a performer for 20 or more years.
I told him about our harp list and how he is mentioned often and in
the highest regard. He was very glad about that.
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