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

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