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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hubert Sumlin - Hubert's American Blues!

Quiet and extremely unassuming off the bandstand, Hubert Sumlin played a style of guitar incendiary enough to stand tall beside the immortal Howlin' Wolf. The Wolf was Sumlin's imposing mentor for more than two decades, and it proved a mutually beneficial relationship; Sumlin's twisting, darting, unpredictable lead guitar constantly energized the Wolf's 1960s Chess sides, even when the songs themselves (check out "Do the Do" or "Mama's Baby" for conclusive proof) were less than stellar.
Sumlin started out twanging the proverbial broom wire nailed to the wall before he got his mitts on a real guitar. He grew up near West Memphis, AR, briefly hooking up with another young lion with a rosy future, harpist James Cotton, before receiving a summons from the mighty Wolf to join him in Chicago in 1954.
Sumlin learned his craft nightly on the bandstand behind Wolf, his confidence growing as he graduated from rhythm guitar duties to lead. By the dawn of the '60s, Sumlin's slashing axe was a prominent component on the great majority of Wolf's waxings, including "Wang Dang Doodle," "Shake for Me," "Hidden Charms" (boasting perhaps Sumlin's greatest recorded solo), "Three Hundred Pounds of Joy," and "Killing Floor."
Although they had a somewhat tempestuous relationship, Sumlin remained loyal to Wolf until the big man's 1976 death. But there were a handful of solo sessions for Sumlin before that, beginning with a most unusual 1964 date in East Berlin that was produced by Horst Lippmann during a European tour under the auspices of the American Folk Blues Festival (the behind-the-Iron Curtain session also featured pianist Sunnyland Slim and bassist Willie Dixon).
Only in the last few years has Sumlin allowed his vocal talents to shine. He's recorded solo sets for Black Top and Blind Pig that show him to be an understated but effective singer -- and his guitar continues to communicate most forcefully.
This is the 1st solo lp from Hubert recorded in 1964 and released on the Scout label in Germany in 1969. Backing him are Willie Dixon, Clifton James and Sunnyland Slim.
This is perhaps one of the worst covers I've seen for a blues lp and the rest of the Scout releases aren't much better if you ask me.
Post: http://www20.zippyshare.com/v/72511406/file.html

10 comments:

Gyro1966 said...

Agreed. This album cover is one of the worst looking blues LP covers I've ever seen.

Marineband said...

Another great sounding LP of quality blues really appreciated and thank you for posting.

Alan Balfour said...

You ain't kidding about those LP sleeves. I seem to recall that every Blues Unlimited review made some caustic comment about the "cover artwork"!

http://www.wirz.de/music/scoutfrm.htm

Xyros said...

The only one that has something to do with the music/artist in my opion is the J.B. Lenoir release "Alabama Blues" which also happens to be one of my favourite blues lp's.

Marineband said...

I have always felt that many, many great and not so great Blues albums suffered from crap covers my one constant was, Chess Sonny Boy records like Bummer Road with a tramp/drunk and Sonny Boy was always sharp dressed! Plus why would you not want a character like him on any cover!!! I'm thinking about some of Red Lightnin's cover art now!

Alan Balfour said...

Red Lightnin' sleeves? Take your pick

The irritations of John Lee Hooker's 1969 No Friend Around take some beating. [huge grin]

Alan Balfour said...

The link provided to Stefan's Red Lightnin' discography seems to have gone awol therefore making somewhat of a nonsense of my comment.

http://www.wirz.de/music/redlifrm.htm

Fourcade said...

A big thank you for this (for me) unknown bluesman... Though I have always asked myself who was doing the great guitar work behind H.Wolf, in those years. As usual, a wonderful post honouring a great blog!
Cheers Daniel, from Spain...

Ansina said...

Excellent, thanks!

Marineband said...

Sorry, I just noticed above I said 'Bummer road' I actually meant 'Down and Out Blues' but I'm sure all you cats knew what I meant!