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

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