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Hubert Sumlin – Blues Video of the Week

Hubert Sumlin at Buddy Guy’s Legends Club

Hubert Sumlin created a guitar style that influenced generations of Blues players. Along with the Howlin’ Wolf, they created and performed the style of “Rock n Roll” before the term was invented. For many years, he held the title of guitarist for the great Howlin’ Wolf’s band. 

Hubert Sumlin was born on November 16, 1931 in Greenwood, Mississippi and raised in Hughes, Arkansas. Early music that Hubert heard and influenced him came from the likes of Charlie Patton, Lonnie Johnson and Robert Johnson. Other influences were Blind Lemon Jefferson, Sonny Boy Williamson, Son House and Blind Willie McTell.

He received his first guitar at the age of six when his mother spent her weekly paycheck of $5 to buy one for Hubert. A few years later, Hubert decided to sneak out to a juke joint where the great Howlin’ Wolf was performing. Standing outside the joint, and watching the show atop some empty crates, Hubert became more and more mesmerized by the Wolf and his music. The music touched him so deeply, he suddenly found himself falling through the window he was peeping through and landed right on the stage! As they say, the rest is history! 

Sumlin’s Music Career

Sumlin becomes the protege of the legendary Howlin’ Wolf for more than two decades. he became Wolf’s lead guitarist from 1954 up until his death in 1976. Sumlin’s greatest contributions to Wolf’s catalog can be heard on the songs “Killing Floor”, “Smokestack Lightning” and “Shake for me.” 

Collaborations with other musicians

In addition to his extensive solo albums, Sumlin also played guitar in Muddy Waters band for a short time. Along with records for Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon, Chuck Berry, and Sonny Boy Williams. Sumlin’s electrifying blues filled with earth-shattering bursts of energy and daring rhythmic suspensions made him a renowned guitarist. Also winning multiple Blues Music Awards and ranking 43 on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarist of All Time. 

Keeping the Blues Alive

Keep the Blues Alive in schools! To learn more or donate to Keeping The Blues Alive, visit our website at https://keepingthebluesalive.org/

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