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Little Walter – Chicago Blues Harp

Little Walter – Chicago Blues Harp

Little Walter, an American blues harp player whose innovative approach of playing the harp, still impacts future generations.  Now mind you, there are other harp players, but he knew how to manipulate the harp. Furthermore, he knew how to make the instrument reach its optimal potential to make people listen stop and listen to his music and playing. 

Born in Louisiana, Walter knows that Chicago is where he needs to be and at age sixteen, he is on his way.  No surprise to anyone, he found work quite easily with the likes of Tampa Red and Big Bill Broozy.  Luck is on his side as he records first in 1947, which leads to touring and recording with Muddy Waters a year later.  Besides recording with Muddy Waters, he also shows up on other musicians’ recordings.  With his powerful harmonica playing, on other artists recordings, in 1952, he begins to record under his own name.  

In 1955 ‘My Babe’ tops the R&B charts along with many other hits. These early recordings along with ‘Key To The Highway’ represent the cream of Little Walter’s output that has influenced blues musicians for the last half century.  Little Walter and Muddy Walters dominated the Chicago Blues scene back in the 1950’s.  This video performance is from the American Folk Blues Festival in 1967.  One of his last performances before he passes in February of 1968. 

Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

Little Walter was inducted to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. “Sideman” category, making him the first and only artist ever to be inducted specifically for his work as a harmonica player.

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