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Rock Bottom

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Album Review

Little Walter's fiery temperament came out in his searing, jazz-inflected, and always innovative electric harp playing, and whether paired with Muddy Waters or on his own, he was simply the Jimi Hendrix of the instrument in the postwar period. This two-CD, 47-track set collects his essential tracks from the 1950s, and no one seriously interested in the blues harp can be without them. Sides like “Mean Old World,” “You Better Watch Yourself,” “My Babe,” and the title track here, “Rock Bottom,” are classics by anyone’s definition. Oh, and Little Walter was a pretty good singer too, although that usually gets forgotten when he tears off into one of his amazing lead harp lines.

Biography

Born: 01 May 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,...
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