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

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