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Hubert Sumlin

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, Arkansas, 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 Sumlin cut a handful of solo sessions 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). In subsequent years Sumlin allowed his vocal talents to shine, recording solo sets that revealed him to be an understated but effective singer -- while his guitar continued to communicate most forcefully. The esteem with which he was held by musicians of a later generation was ably demonstrated by the guest list on Sumlin's 2004 album About Them Shoes, including Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Levon Helm, and David Johansen, not to mention a noted bluesman from Sumlin's own past, harmonica player James Cotton, the old friend and bandmate who first played with Sumlin in West Memphis back in their teenage years of the early '50s, before Cotton joined up with Muddy Waters and moved to Chicago, paralleling Sumlin's own journey to the Windy City around the same time. He followed up About Them Shoes with Treblemaker in 2007. Hubert Sumlin died of heart failure in Wayne, New Jersey on December 4, 2011; he was 80 years old. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards paid for the bluesman's funeral expenses. ~ Bill Dahl
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Stations Featuring
Hubert Sumlin

    All Blues

    All Blues
    9 songs

Albums by
Hubert Sumlin

Top Songs by
Hubert Sumlin

  1.   Song
  2.   The Red Rooster
  3.   Sitting on Top of the World
  4.   Got the Blues
  5.   Hidden Charms
  6.   Blues For Henry
  7.   Living the Blues
  8.   Bring Your Love to Me
  9.   How Can You Leave Me, Little Girl?
  10.   Down in the Bottom
  11.   Chunky
  12.   All I Can Do
  13.   No Title Boogie
  14.   Don't Judge a Book by the Cover
  15.   Juke
  16.   Mind Is Rambling
  17.   Blue Shadows
  18.   Smokestack
  19.   No Time for Me
  20.   How Many More Years
  21.   Poor Me, Pour Me
  22.   West Side Soul
  23.   I Don't Want to Hear About Yours
  24.   Play It Cool
  25.   Without a Friend Like You
  26.   Letter to My Girlfriend
  27.   I Don't Want No Woman
  28.   Down the Dusty Road
  29.   Spanish Greens
  30.   Dust My Broom featuring Clifton James
  31.   Willie's Back in Town
  32.   A Soul That's Been Abused
  33.   Old Friends
  34.   Come Back Little Girl
  35.   Blue Guitar
  36.   I'm Trying to Make London My Home by Sonny Boy Williamson II
  37.   No Title Boogie featuring Clifton James
  38.   Gamblin' Woman featuring Carey Bell
  39.   You Got to Help Me
  40.   Still Playing the Blues
  41.   Just Like I Treat You
  42.   I'm Coming Home
  43.   Howlin' for My Darlin'
  44.   Honey Dumplins
  45.   Across The Board
  46.   Your Foxy Self
  47.   I'm Not Your Clown
  48.   Hubert's Blues
  49.   I Love featuring Bob Stroger
  50.   Big Legged Woman featuring Sunnyland Slim
  51.   Dissatisfied featuring Clifton James
  52.   I Love
  53.   That's Why I'm Gonna Leave You
  54.   Pickin'
  55.   I Got a Little Thing They Call It Swing featuring Carey Bell
  56.   Sunnyland's New Orleans Boogie featuring Bob Stroger
  57.   I Got It Where I Want It
  58.   We Gonna Jump
  59.   I Want You
  60.   One Day I Get Lucky featuring Bob Stroger
  61.   Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky featuring Bob Stroger
  62.   I Could Be You
  63.   Everytime I Get to Drinkin' featuring Clifton James
  64.   Can't Call You No More
  65.   Good Bye
  66.   Healing Feeling
  67.   When I Feel Better
  68.   Blues Anytime
  69.   I've Stopped Crying
  70.   I've Been Hurt
  71.   Sumlin Boogie
  72.   Love You, Woman
  73.   Blues Is Here to Stay
  74.   Everytime I Get to Drinking
  75.   I Need You So Bad by Carey Bell's Blues Harp Band
  76.   There' LL Be a Day featuring Bob Stroger
  77.   Look Don't Touch
  78.   Sometimes I'm Right
  79.   Man and the Blues by Carey Bell's Blues Harp Band
  80.   Too Late for Me to Pray
  81.   Slip in Mules featuring Clifton James
  82.   You My Best

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