Wah Wah Watson Chooses sE
Tuesday 12th February 2013
Some of you may not know Melvin ‘Wah Wah Watson’ Ragin by name, but you do know 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone' by The Temptations, Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On' and ‘Off the Wall’ by Michael Jackson. Wah Wah Watson is an American guitarist, producer, writer and artist and contributed his skills to hundreds of singles and albums. He is well known for his skills with a Wah Wah Pedal, hence the nickname, and was a key player in 70’s Motown sound, so we were very excited to hear what Wah Wah Watson had to say about his career, working with the late Marvin Gaye and sE mics…
“My Mother bought my first guitar for $15 with a promise from me that I would learn how to play it, and I did. I played my first major record date when I was 20 years old with renowned Motown producer Norman Whitfield. Norman called me in to play on Edwin Starr's ‘Stop the War Now’, released by Motown in the spring of 1971.”
“Then came sessions with The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, The Supremes and loads more.” Watson, meanwhile, had also begun what turned out to be a lengthy residency with the famed 12-piece Motown band led by Hamilton Bohannon. "That's where I really started developing my signature technique, and picked the nickname Wah Wah Watson”.
“I worked with all the hit producers at Motown, including Holland-Dozier-Holland, Frank Wilson and Johnny Bristol, but the person who had the biggest influence on me was Norman Whitfield. It was Whitfield who produced The Temptations ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone’, the 1972 soul and pop hit which prominently featured my signature funky ‘Wah Wah groove’”.
“Between sessions I was playing major tours with a wide range of pop, soul and jazz stars. The most memorable was in the summer of 1983, I toured with the late Marvin Gaye on ‘The Midnight Love Tour’, unfortunately this was Marvin's last tour”.
Ragin has been working on several projects over the past year, one being an ambitious studio ‘Wah Wah Funk and Groove’ project. His most recent release ‘I Just Can’t Go On’, he worked on with Ray Parker Jr. who has played guitar on quite a few hits with him. When asked about his gear, he points out, “You may know I have used the Talk Box on a lot of records and therefore have to use a mic to pick up the sound.”
“I have used quite a few mic's with the Talk Box, however I fell in love with the sE H1 so much I used it to record my Talk Box in Studio setting. It captures the sound in such a realistic way; it has become part of my arsenal. I have also tried the sE 4400a, which really sounds like a mic from my past recording days. I also love the Reflexion Filters as they allow me to have a fatter quieter sound on vocals. Makes me Goo Goo Wah Wah...(!)”
For more information on any of the sE gear mentioned, or if you would like to audition sE mics in your studio, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
By Hannah Staunton