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The Essential Little Walter

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Among his peers at Chess Records, only Muddy Waters scored more hits than Little Walter, and, arguably, only Muddy Waters, whose band Walter played in, was a more towering solo blues figure in the '50s. Little Walter amplified the harmonica-in the same way Muddy electrified the guitar-and in so doing created a critical instrument in the development of electric blues. No one played "harp" leads-soaring, screeching, rockin' leads-better than Walter, and as a front man, he made history with numbers like "Mean Old World" and "Sad Hours," the latter sporting the one of the best harp solos ever recorded.

Customer Reviews

keep on harpin

this is the bomb if you wanna learn the harmoinica little walter is a master

L.W. What can you say?

Little Walter is essential listening for any blues fan or harmonica player. L.W. is without question, the most technically advanced of all the Chicago blues harp men. His timing, phrasing and various amplified tones so surpassed all his peers before and after him that in a blues context, even today, harmonica players are often judged by how close they can get to Marion Walter Jacobs. These are all amazing tunes. Great lyrics full of anger, whit, sarcasm and street. Amazing instrumentals and heart felt singing. Little Walter is by far my very favorite of the old harp guys. Also buy the stuff featuring L.W. with Jimmy Rodgers and Muddy to hear Walter's expertise at backing a front man! -Jason Ricci

"Don't Need No Horse!"

.."You Better Watch Yourself!"..I totally concur with "CoolFreeHardBop"; On his chosen intrument; Little Walter was a Virtuoso! {So it was quite heart-warming to see LW finally take his rightful place alongside his felow Bluesmen in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame!} ( Awesome set by Ben Harper & James Cotton; "My Babe!") Another proud graduate of "Muddy Waters University"; Little Walter literally "Blew Away" all his competitors! Plus; His many & varied "Hits" took in a lot of quarters in Barrooms & Jukejoints from Chicago to the rest of the Blues-Loving World! (Like many of Little Walter's Contemporaries; We got "Turned On To The Blues" from those "Swinging London Cats": The Rolling Stones; The Animals & The Yardbirds!) {And; Like any good students; We "Looked Them Up" in old Record Stores & Funky Coffehouses all over Cambridge & Boston-"Those Were The Days; My Friend!"} So; 'Mellow Down Easy" tonight; Little Walter; "You're So Fine!" Grimmbo.


Born: May 1, 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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Top Albums and Songs by Little Walter