Happy Birthday Little Walter

 

 

 

Wiki Bio

 

Jacobs was born in Marksville, Louisiana and raised in Rapides Parish, Louisiana, where he first learned to play the harmonica. After quitting school by the age of 12, Jacobs left rural Louisiana and travelled around working odd jobs and busking on the streets of New Orleans, Memphis, Helena, Arkansas and St. Louis. He honed his musical skills on harmonica and guitar performing with much older bluesmen such as Sonny Boy Williamson IISunnyland SlimHoneyboy Edwards and others.”

 

 

 

 

” Arriving in Chicago in 1945, he occasionally found work as a guitarist but garnered more attention for his already highly developed harmonica work. According to fellow Chicago bluesman Floyd Jones, Little Walter’s first recording was an unreleased demo recorded soon after he arrived in Chicago on which Walter played guitar backing Jones.[5] Jacobs reportedly grew frustrated with having his harmonica drowned out by electric guitarists, and adopted a simple, but previously little-used method: He cupped a small microphone in his hands along with his harmonica, and plugged the microphone into a public address system or guitar amplifier. He could thus compete with any guitarist’s volume. However, unlike other contemporary blues harp players such as Sonny Boy Williamson I and Snooky Pryor, who like many other harmonica players had also begun using the newly available amplifier technology around the same time solely for added volume, Little Walter purposely pushed his amplifiers beyond their intended technical limitations, using the amplification to explore and develop radical new timbres and sonic effects previously unheard from a harmonica, or any other instrument.[1] Madison Deniro wrote a small biographical piece on Little Walter stating that “He was the first musician of any kind to purposely use electronic distortion.”[6]

 

 

 

 

 

Rock  Hall Of Fame

 

”  Little Walter made his way north to Chicago via stops in New Orleans and Monroe, Louisiana; St. Helena, Arkansas; Memphis, Tennessee; and St. Louis, Missouri, arriving in the Windy City in 1947. That same year, he made his first recordings for the local Ora Nelle label. Little Walter and Muddy Waters first appeared on a session together when both backed Jimmy Rogers in 1949. Waters backed Little Walter on a session for Parkway Records in January 1950. That August, Little Walter first backed Muddy for the Chess label, and in October, they recorded the Waters classic “Louisiana Blues.”

 

 

 

 

 

” Nearly a year after Little Walter’s initial appearance on a Muddy Waters session for Chess, he used an amplified harmonica for the first time on a groundbreaking July 1951 session that yielded “She Moves Me.” Waters was among the earliest to recognize that blues possessed a formidable power when electrified, and with Jimmy Rogers on electric guitar and Little Walter on amplified harp, he had the hottest blues band in Chicago. Little Walter split from Waters’ band after an instrumental showcase of his that was popular with crowds – “Your Cat Will Play,” retitled “Juke” when he recorded it – became a huge solo hit. A classic juke-joint instrumental, “Juke” topped the R&B chart for eight weeks in the fall of 1952.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

” In addition to harmonica, Little Walter played guitar, sang and wrote songs. He recruited a backing band from the Chicago club scene (whom he rechristened the Jukes, after his big song), and they recorded and toured throughout the Fifties. On his own, Little Walter charted 14 Top Ten R&B hits for the Chess label’s Checker subsidiary. One of these, “My Babe” – written by Willie Dixon and featuring the melody from the spiritual “This Train” – went to Number One. Other sizable hits from Little Walter included “Sad Hours,” “Mean Old World,” “Blues With a Feeling,” “You’re So Fine,” “Oh, Baby” and ‘Last Night.” At Leonard Chess’s behest, Little Walter continued recording with Muddy Waters, too, adding his unmistakable harmonica to such classics as “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Trouble No More.” “

 

 

 

Allmusic Bio

 

” By 1950, Walter was firmly entrenched as Waters‘ studio harpist at Chess as well (long after Walter had split the Muddy Waters band, Leonard Chess insisted on his participation on waxings — why split up an unbeatable combination?). That’s how Walter came to record his breakthrough 1952 R&B chart-topper “Juke” — the romping instrumental was laid down at the tail-end of a Waters session. Suddenly, Walterwas a star on his own, combining his stunning talents with those of the Aces (guitarists Louis and David Myers and drummer Fred Below) and advancing the concept of blues harmonica another few light years with every session he made for Checker Records.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

” From 1952 to 1958, Walter notched 14 Top Ten R&B hits, including “Sad Hours,” “Mean Old World,” “Tell Me Mama,” “Off the Wall,” “Blues with a Feeling,” “You’re So Fine,” a threatening “You Better Watch Yourself,” the mournful “Last Night,” and a rocking “My Babe” that was Willie Dixon‘s secularized treatment of the traditional gospel lament “This Train.” Throughout his Checker tenure,Walter alternated spine-chilling instrumentals with gritty vocals (he’s always been underrated in that department; he wasn’t Muddy Waters or the Wolf, but who was?).”

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Walter utilized the chromatic harp in ways never before envisioned (check out his 1956 free-form instrumental “Teenage Beat,” with Robert Jr. Lockwood and Luther Tucker manning the guitars, for proof positive). 1959′s determined “Everything Gonna Be Alright” was Walter‘s last trip to the hit lists; Chicago blues had faded to a commercial non-entity by then unless your name was Jimmy Reed.

Tragically, the ’60s saw the harp genius slide steadily into an alcohol-hastened state of unreliability, his once-handsome face becoming a road map of scars. In 1964, he toured Great Britain with the Rolling Stones, who clearly had their priorities in order, but his once-prodigious skills were faltering badly. That sad fact was never more obvious than on 1967′s disastrous summit meeting of WatersBo Diddley, and  Walter for Chess as the Super Blues Band; there was nothing super whatsoever about Walter‘s lame remakes of “My Babe” and “You Don’t Love Me.”

 

 

 

 

” Walter‘s eternally vicious temper led to his violent undoing in 1968. He was involved in a street fight (apparently on the losing end, judging from the outcome) and died from the incident’s after-effects at age 37. His influence remains inescapable to this day — it’s unlikely that a blues harpist exists on the face of this earth who doesn’t worship Little Walter.”

 

 

 

 

 

Musicianguide Bio

 

 

” Though Little Walter’s studio performances of the late 1950s continued to produce first-rate material, his rough lifestyle began to take its toll. By the 1960s he bore facial scars from drunken altercations. As Muddy Waters told Paul Oliver during the 1960s in Conversation With the Blues, “He’s real tough, Little Walter, and he’s had it hard. Got a slug in his leg right now!” Walter’s street-hardened behavior resulted in his death, at his home, on February 15, 1968, from a blood clot sustained during a street fight. He was 37.”

 

 

 

” Upon his death, Little Walter left a recording career unparalleled in the history of postwar Chicago Blues. His musicianship has influenced nearly every modern blues harmonica player. In the liner notes to Confessin’ the Blues, Pete Welding wrote: “Honor Little Walter, who gave us so much and, who like most bluesmen, received so little.” But as a man who lived through his instrument, Walter knew no other source of reward than the mastery of his art and the freedom to create music of original expression.”

 

 

 

 

 

Discography

 

Albums

Little Waler

‎ (LP)

Marble Arch Records 1964

Bo DiddleyLittle WalterMuddy Waters - Super Blues ‎ ◄ (13 versions)

Checker 1967

The Best Of Little Walter Vol. 2

‎ (2xVinyl)

Chess 1985

Little Walter & Otis Rush - Live In Chicago ‎ ◄ (3 versions)

Cleo Records 1986

Hate To See You Go

‎ (CD, Album)

Chess 1990

Singles & EPs

It’s Too Late Brother / Take Me Back

‎ (7″)

Checker 1956

Teenage Beat / Just A Feeling

‎ (7″)

Checker 1956

Everything Gonna Be Alright / Back Track

‎ (7″)

Checker 1959

My Babe

‎ (7″)

Checker 1960

Ah’w Baby / I Had My Fun

‎ (7″, Single, Promo)

Checker 1960

Crazy For My Baby / Crazy Legs

‎ (7″)

Checker 1961

I Don’t Play / As Long As I Have You

‎ (7″)

Checker 1961

Up The Line

‎ (7″)

Checker 1963

My Babe / Thunderball

‎ (7″)

Checker 2013

Crazy Mixed Up World / My Baby Is Sweater

‎ ◄ (2 versions)

Checker Unknown

Little Walter / Pigmeat Markham - My Babe / Here Comes The Judge ‎ (7″, RP)

Collectables Unknown

Dale Hawkins / Little Walter - La Do Dada / Juke ‎ (7″, RP)

Collectables Unknown

Compilations

The Best Of Little Walter

‎ ◄ (6 versions)

Chess 1957

Chess Masters

‎ (2xLP, Comp)

Chess 1964

Hate To See You Go

‎ ◄ (3 versions)

Chess 1969

Quarter To Twelve

‎ (LP, Comp)

Red Lightnin’ 1969

Thunderbird

‎ (LP, Comp)

Syndicate ChapterSyndicate Chapter 1971

Muddy Waters - Little Walter - Howlin’ Wolf - We Three Kings ‎ (LP, Comp)

Syndicate Chapter 1971

Boss Blues Harmonica

‎ ◄ (5 versions)

Chess 1972

Chess Blues Master Series

‎ ◄ (3 versions)

Chess 1976

Bo DiddleyLittle WalterMuddy WatersHowlin’ Wolf - Super Blues Session ‎ (2xLP, Comp, RE)

Bellaphon 1976

Confessin’ The Blues

‎ ◄ (5 versions)

Chess 1977

The Best Of Little Walter

‎ (Cass, Comp, RE, Dol)

ChessMCA Records 1986

The Little Walter Collection – 20 Blues Greats

‎ (LP, Comp)

Deja Vu 1987

The Best Of Little Walter Volume Two

‎ (LP, Comp)

Chess 1989

My Babe 20 Blues Classics

‎ (CD, Comp)

Blue City (2) 1989

The Electric Harmonica Genius

‎ (LP, Comp)

Blues Encore 1990

Blues With A Feeling

‎ (LP, Comp)

Roots (6) 1990

Blues With A Feeling

‎ (CD, Comp)

Blues Encore 1990

The World Of Little Walter / Juke

‎ (CD, Comp)

Trace (2) 1992

Boss Blues Harmonica

‎ ◄ (3 versions)

Orbis 1995

Boss Blues Harmonica

‎ (CD, Comp)

DeAgostini (Netherlands) B.V. 1995

Blues With A Feelin’

‎ (2xCD, Comp, RM)

Chess 1997

His Best

‎ (CD, RM, Comp)

Chess 1997

Blowing With A Feeling

‎ (CD, Comp, RM)

Saga 2005

Little Walter

‎ (CD, Comp)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LINKS

Little Walter Latest Albums | MTV

Essential | Little Walter Album | Yahoo! Music

Chess Blues Masters Series by Little Walter | MTV

Little Walter | Artistopia Music

 

 

VIDEOS

Little Walter’s induction into the R&R Hall of Fame

Little Walter R&R Hall of Fame film

Blue Midnight: The Film Biography of Little Walter

 

MUSIC

iTunes – Music – Little Walter

Little Walter - Little_walter Vinyl Records, CDs and LPs

Free Music Online – Internet Radio – Jango

Little Walter on Spotify

Amazon.com: Little Walter

 

 

 

 

 

 

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