Remembering Little Walter – Best Album 2014 Blues Music Awards
“Remembering Little Walter stands out as a summit meeting of five veteran harpists live. Billy Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, Sugar Ray Norcia, James Hartman, and Hummel himself take turns performing tunes identified with Walter’s legacy, backed by an ace band. With a veteran lineup like this and such rich source material to pull from, the live album sounds just as good as one would expect.” -Living Blues
“Billy Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Hummel, Sugar Ray Norcia, and James Hartman on one stage for one evening is the ticket you want for an unequaled evening of reed-bending ecstasy.” -No Depression
“Each man performs two songs with characteristic swagger and soul. Musselwhite and Arnold were friends with Little Walter; I imagine their friend would be most pleased.” -Blues Music Magazine
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Little Walter Jacobs receives a fitting tribute on this sparkling live recording, bringing together five of the greatest harmonica players currently on the blues scene – Charlie Musselwhite, Billy Boy Arnold, Mark Hummel, James Harman, and Sugar Ray Norcia.
The virtuosic Little Walter is without doubt one of the most influential blues harmonica players of all time. Keith Richards calls him “one of the best singers of the blues and a blues harp player par excellence.” All five of these fine players share a deep love for and keen insight into the revolutionary force that Walter’s music brought to bear on the Chicago blues scene of the ‘fifties and ‘sixties.
Two of the participants, Charlie Musselwhite and Billy Boy Arnold, actually knew and played with him. Charlie recalls that Walter “started phrasing on harmonica like a saxophone. This phrasing combined with his creativity and amplification really took harmonica playing to a whole new level that hadn’t been heard before. For me personally, besides Walter’s being an influence, he was even more of an inspiration; an inspiration and invitation to experiment, take chances, see where it’ll take you and to always follow your heart. Walter was always real nice to me.” Arnold adds, “He was miles ahead of all the other harp players on the scene. No one could touch him. He was creative, innovative, and spontaneous. Little Walter is still the top and most influential harp player that ever played.”
Musselwhite and Arnold are joined here by three other harpists, each renowned in his own right. Producer Mark Hummel has toured and recorded with Lowell Fulson, Eddie Taylor, Charles Brown, Brownie McGhee, Jimmy Rogers and many other blues legends. James Harman has been a mainstay on the scene for forty years, having played with everyone from Canned Heat to ZZ Top. Sugar Ray Norcia is best known for his lengthy tenure with the acclaimed Roomful of Blues and with the Bluetones – a band he started thirty years ago with guitarist Ronnie Earl.
On “Remembering Little Walter,” each artist performs two tracks from Jacob’s discography, then they collaborate on a balls-out, jamming finale of Walter’s signature tune, “My Babe.” Backing throughout is crisp and solid, featuring Little Charlie Baty, world renowned guitar slinger and former bandleader of Little Charlie and the Nightcats. This one of a kind live harp showcase is a recording no blues fan will want to miss.
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