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

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