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

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