Wiping Your Harps

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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby bosco » Fri Jan 03, 2003 8:08 pm

You sound like a dangerous man, Pete!

I'm a blues harp player and a bowhunter, but I've never had occasion to mix the two activities. Launching harps with bass strings is certainly a new one on me. If a big Elk happens to wander through the Pub, you'll be good to go!

Bosco ;-)
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby kingb » Sat Feb 15, 2003 11:16 am

What I do for a friend of mine who is a harp player is use one of those Sharwoods chutney bottles - they are the right shape long and square cross-section, fill it 2/3 full of 40% ethanol - you can use any commercial vodka - and about 1/2 teaspoon of activated charcoal which is allowed to settle on the bottom - you don't want it in the reeds. Soak the harp in this overnight and it will remove a lot of the crap and kill any nasties as well.
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby david » Sat Feb 15, 2003 8:09 pm

Hey Ricochet,
I grew up Between the Rivers (they call it Land Between the Lakes since they stole it from us) where I had lots of neighbors that produced very high quality versions of the alcohol you seek.

Almost everyone in our community was the descendent of a revolutionary war soldier who settled the penninsula between the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers in the 1780's. Most were Scotch-Irish (whatever that is) and still had old family recipes and the father-to-son passing of the art of producing the good stuff.

There are still a few of them maintaining this nearly lost art. In short, I can get the goods. I just never wasted any of it on a harp before. Though I have wasted some while playing slide!

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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby ricochet » Sat Feb 15, 2003 9:23 pm

Just so it gets "wasted" in the right direction!

Most of it that's made now is, I think, made more for the sake of tradition than anything. When I was a teenager I got invited on a deer hunting trip with a friend who'd been invited by a friend who'd been invited by friends to stay in their tobacco grading shed and hunt on their land. (It was COLD and snowing at the time.) When we got down there and settled in, everyone in the holler had to come down and visit. Once they decided we were OK, a young local fellow turned a board in the wall to open a secret stash, pulled out some of their MAIN cash crop in a plastic bag, rolled some up and offered it around to all of the older gents, who politely declined as we did. Then the owner of the place started proudly telling us about his 450 gallon still, all copper with a "triple coil copper condenser," and how he'd age the stuff in the ground for several years in old oak barrels from the Jack Daniels Distillery. Invited us back to help him run off a batch, which I've often later regretted I never did. He politely asked us to avoid a certain holler in our hunting, and we did. The herbs were grown for profit, but the spirits were basically the guy's hobby that he took as much pride in as any of us ever could in our guitars, gear and playing.
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby david » Mon Feb 17, 2003 4:42 am

450 Gallon Still!! That's huge!

The guy who invented the square shaped "coffin" still (Joe Boggard) was from Between the Rivers. He lived in the next county, but he was a legend. His apprentice lived just down the road from us.

The purpose of the shape was to be able to load it into a wagon and head out in a hurry. It was designed to just fit in a standard farm wagon and had handles on the sides.

I think a 100 gallon still is the biggest I ever saw.

There was a young guy or two that started making the stuff via short cuts. Word got around and the community members put them out of business. It was a serious matter for old guys that had put a lot at stake to maintain the old traditions.

If you are interested, you can read more about the place here: http://newmedia.colorado.edu/~socwomen/myturn7.html

Thats an article I was asked to write after I did a presentation at a Rural Sociology conference.


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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby badfinger » Mon Feb 17, 2003 8:55 am

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Feb-17-03 AT 03:57 AM (EST)]"I have a coffee cup at the office that I never wash..."

So totally (see how I pick up the lingo!) identify wih that one, Ric; and so very (irrationally) annoying if someone washes it 'for me'.

"I grew up Between the Rivers"
Mesopotamia? Another nice Jewish boy? Mazeltov, David!

bf

PS: Forgot the thread... Way back when, my old mum used to say "Don't wipe your mouth-organ on your pully, like that, it'll get full of fluff!" See - she knew before any of us!
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby ricochet » Mon Feb 17, 2003 8:48 pm

David, that's a good article. The condescending, paternalistic attitude of the outsiders you describe seems to me to be typical of the whole 1960s Peace Corps-type movement, with their compassionately humanistic "missionaries" coming from the culturally superior North to save the benighted Appalachian people from their way of life. We've still got too many of those people around here who settled in 35 years ago but still think they know better about how to run everything than the poor ignorant "natives."

My mother in law grew up in Butler, Tennessee. Butler was an incorporated town along the Watauga River. It was similarly condemned and ended up at the bottom of Watauga Lake. There's a town named Butler, still known as "New Butler" by those who remember, established a few miles up the valley. That's sometimes told as a "gee whiz, look what a wonderful thing the TVA did, moving a whole town" kind of story, but the reality was like yours. When she was living, on the rare occasions the TVA lowered the lake to work on the gates of the dam my father-in-law would take his boat up there and take her back near where Butler was. They'd walk the rest of the way and then walk around "town" so she could reminisce, looking at the foundations and steps of the homes, stores and shops.
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby houndog » Mon Feb 17, 2003 9:36 pm

Hello,
Potsheen..the Oirish stuff still can be had...usually clear but with bits floating in it.

Rabbie Burns was an excise man ...bit of poacher turned game-keeper really...

Now the real problem with stills is the striking point...a bit aff and you get alcool that the medics use...makes yer blind and all.
I think that hooch backward (hcooh) is the ok chemical formula for country snake oil.

What is the legend about rats getting added to Jack Daniels ?

Nice crisp chilled Chardonay for me...wot it does to your herps ...I dunno..arf.

adios,
Lovat.
( jes kidding about the Chardonnay ....:D)
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby david » Mon Feb 17, 2003 9:57 pm

Hey Houndog,
Don't know bout no Chardnay, but I know a guy that learned to run his Daddy's still when he was a small kid, and his Daddy had learned from his, etc.

After too close a scrape with the revenuers (he still has scars from scrambling through the briars and cane down along the Cumberland bottoms) he turned his attention to wine making. He now makes one of the finest blackberry wines you will ever find anywhere. He swears only wild picked blackberries will do.

Last I heard he was teaching his grandkids how to make the stuff--from what sign to pick the berries to how to age the finished product. I like to think of it not as a victory by the government, but as a strange kind of judo by this ancestral craftsman. He just redefined his craft.

I can remember my stepfather being completely disgusted with a friend of his because he was floating a charred oak plank in the container rather than using a charred barrel. It just wasn't right.

Ricochet, You hit the nail on the head with the folks that came in from outside and knew we were backwards and needed their help. That we didn't believe it was supposed to be proof of how bad off we really were.

I see a parallel here with the old Delta blues men passing down their craft on the front porch and the yankees showing up to tell them how to do it right; how to improve that primitive music. I still hold out hope, somehow, that there is an old man out in a remote farm house playing a beat up old dobro and showing his grandson how to play the old tunes his grand daddy taught him. And up in the hills of East Ky. and Tn. there is an old man with a beat up old banjo, fiddle, or dulcimer showing his grandson the songs his grand daddy taught him.

And I hope nobody who knows what music is "supposed" (ambiguity intended) to sound like ever hears those songs.

Wipe those harps boys. Wipe them on your sleeve, pass the jar around till somebody remembers another one they heard as a kid.


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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby ricochet » Tue Feb 18, 2003 1:31 am

>the folks that
>came in from outside and knew we were backwards and needed
>their help. That we didn't believe it was supposed to be
>proof of how bad off we really were.

Yep! And then they just rewrote history about how grateful y'all were for their "help."

>I see a parallel here with the old Delta blues men passing
>down their craft on the front porch and the yankees showing
>up to tell them how to do it right; how to improve that
>primitive music. I still hold out hope, somehow, that there
>is an old man out in a remote farm house playing a beat up
>old dobro and showing his grandson how to play the old tunes
>his grand daddy taught him. And up in the hills of East Ky.
>and Tn. there is an old man with a beat up old banjo,
>fiddle, or dulcimer showing his grandson the songs his grand
>daddy taught him.
>
>And I hope nobody who knows what music is "supposed"
>(ambiguity intended) to sound like ever hears those songs.
>
>Wipe those harps boys. Wipe them on your sleeve, pass the
>jar around till somebody remembers another one they heard as
>a kid.

Oh yeah, those good old folks are still around!

Hey houndog, HCOOH is formic acid. Definitely not something you ought to drink, or would want to.
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby bosco » Mon Apr 14, 2003 1:27 pm

DRing-

Welcome to the BigRoad. Thanks for those tips, as you can see there is a ton of info here...don't forget to visit the Harp forum!

PS- You can change or add to what you have posted by clicking on the "Edit" icon at the bottom of the original post within 30 minutes of posting. That way you can avoid making a second post.

Enjoy the site.

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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby ricochet » Tue Apr 15, 2003 12:31 am

I think the editing time limit's gone. I went back several hours after a post and fixed a typo a few days ago.
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