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The Very Best of Little Walter

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Album Review

Little Walter — aka Marion Walter Jacobs — wasn't the first great harmonica player in the blues, but the instrument had a whole new force and personality after he was done with it. Little Walter was a technically gifted player with a dark, powerful sound, but he also approached the chromatic harmonica in a new way earlier players had not, and by using a microphone and amplifier to power his harp, he created sounds that were fierce, wild, and dramatic. Walter first rose to fame playing with Muddy Waters' band, but he also became a solo star, cutting his first hit on his own, "Juke," at the tail end of a Waters session in 1952, and becoming one of the few harp players to make it as a headliner. The Best of Little Walter features 12 songs from Walter's years with Chess Records, which remained his recording home from the release of "Juke" until his death in 1968. Selections include "Juke," "Blues with a Feeling," "Sad Hours," "My Babe," and more.


Born: May 01, 1930 in Marksville, LA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s

Who's the king of all post-war blues harpists, Chicago division or otherwise? Why, the virtuosic Little Walter, without a solitary doubt. The fiery harmonica wizard took the humble mouth organ in dazzling amplified directions that were unimaginable prior to his ascendancy. His daring instrumental innovations were so fresh, startling, and ahead of their time that they sometimes sported a jazz sensibility, soaring and swooping in front of snarling guitars and swinging rhythms perfectly suited to Walter's...
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