Little Walter

Little Walter

Real Name:
Marion Walter Jacobs
Blues harmonica player and composer.
His innovation on the harmonica has had impact on succeeding generations.
Born & raised in Lousiana, Little Walter had quit school by the age of 12, & was supporting himself with odd jobs & busking around southern cities in Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, & Missouri. Arriving in Chicago in 1945, he occasionally found work as a guitarist but garnered more attention for his already highly developed harmonica work. Jacobs, growing frustrated with having his harmonica drowned out by electric guitarists, competed with their volume by adopting the previously little-used method of amplification. However, he differed from his contemporaries by purposely pushing his amplifiers beyond their intended technical limitations, using the amplification to explore and develop radical new timbres and sonic effects previously unheard from a harmonica, or any other instrument. It has been said Little Walter was the first musician of any kind to purposely use electronic distortion.
His first released recordings were in 1947. He then joined Muddy Waters band playing mostly unamplified harmonica from 1948 to 1952, though Chess hired Walter to play on most of Muddy's records throughout the 50's.
In 1952 his instrumental hit "Juke" spent 8 weeks atop the Billboard R&B chart, the only harmonica instrumental #1 to date.
Little Walter scored fourteen top-ten hits on the Billboard R&B charts between 1952 and 1958, including a second #1, "My Babe" in 1955, a level of commercial success never achieved by his former boss Waters.
In the late 1950s, Jacob's fame and fortunes began to decline. He suffered from alcoholism and had a notoriously short temper. He died in his sleep at the apartment of a girlfriend at 209 E. 54th St. in Chicago early in the morning following a fight outside a club he was playing at in South Chicago.
Described as "king of all post-war blues harpists", he is widely credited by blues historians as the artist primarily responsible for establishing the standard vocabulary for modern blues & blues rock harmonica players.
Inducted into Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 (Sidemen).
Born 1 May 1930 in Marksville, Louisiana.
Died 15 February 1968 in Chicago, Illinois.
In Groups:

Little Walter Discography


LP 1428 Little Walter The Best Of Little Walter (Comp, Album) Chess LP 1428 US 1957 Sell This Version
BLPS 19130 Bo Diddley, Little Walter, Muddy Waters Bo Diddley, Little Walter, Muddy Waters - Super Blues (Album) Checker, Checker BLPS 19130 Germany 1967 Sell This Version
RL.002 Little Walter Quarter To Twelve (Comp) Red Lightnin' RL.002 UK 1969 Sell This Version
9033 416 Little Walter Confessin' The Blues (Comp) Chess 9033 416 Canada 1974 Sell This Version
BMLP 1.028 Little Walter & Otis Rush Little Walter & Otis Rush - Live At The Chicago Blues Festival Cleo Records BMLP 1.028 UK 1986 Sell This Version
CR BAND 5 Little Walter Stray Dog Blues(CD-ROM) Rev-Ola Bandstand CR BAND 5 Europe 2006 Sell This Version
BKR 9802 Little Walter Boom Boom(12", Album) Black Knight BKR 9802 Poland Unknown Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

764 Little Walter And His Nightcaps* Little Walter And His Nightcaps* - Mean Old World / Sad Hours (Single) Checker 764 US 1952 Sell This Version
758 Little Walter And His Nightcaps* Little Walter And His Nightcaps* - Juke / Can't Hold Out Much Longer (Single) Checker 758 US 1952 Sell This Version
767 Little Walter Don't Have To Hunt No More / Tonight With A Fool Checker 767 US 1953 Sell This Version
404 Little Walter Rollin' Blues (Single) Herald 404 US 1953 Sell This Version
799 Little Walter You'd Better Watch Yourself/Blue Light(Shellac, 10") Checker 799 US 1954 Sell This Version
817 Little Walter Roller Coaster / I Got To Go (Single) Checker 817 US 1955 Sell This Version
852 Little Walter It's Too Late Brother / Take Me Back Checker 852 US 1956 Sell This Version
845 Little Walter Teenage Beat / Just A Feeling Checker 845 US 1956 Sell This Version
859 Little Walter & His Jukes / Little Walter Little Walter & His Jukes / Little Walter - Nobody But You / Everybody Needs Somebody (Single) Checker 859 US 1957 Sell This Version
867 Little Walter Boom, Boom Out Goes The Lights / Temperature (Single) Checker 867 US 1957 Sell This Version
890 Little Walter The Tottle Checker 890 US 1958 Sell This Version
930 Little Walter Everything Gonna Be Alright / Back Track (Single) Checker 930 US 1959 Sell This Version
938 Little Walter Me And Piney Brown (Single) Checker 938 US 1959 Sell This Version
919 Little Walter My Baby Is Sweeter / Crazy Mixed Up World (Single) Checker 919 US 1959 Sell This Version
945 Little Walter Ah'w Baby / I Had My Fun (Single) Checker 945 US 1960 Sell This Version
45-HLM 9175 Little Walter My Babe (Single) Checker 45-HLM 9175 UK 1960 Sell This Version
968 Little Walter I Don't Play / As Long As I Have You Checker 968 US 1961 Sell This Version
CK-986 Little Walter Crazy For My Baby / Crazy Legs(7") Checker CK-986 US 1961 Sell This Version


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April 26, 2015
edited about 1 month ago
Hail the King //:+)
As a fan of harmonica, blues, & music in general, Little Walter is a King.
His playing has never been truly equaled on the instrument, like Jimi Hendrix on guitar, a true innovator.
His 2008 entry into the Rock'N''Roll hall of fame as a sideman should be as a bandleader also. With his first-take debut single, 1952's "Juke", the first and only harmonica solo single to be #1 on the Billboard R&B charts (#1 for 8 weeks!), he is deserving. His 14 top-ten Billboard R&B hits between '52 & '58 also included the #1 charting blues-standard "My Babe". Also, his early explorations in the 1940's with amplification, quite likely the first musician to purposely use distortion, add to his stature. It seems his earliest classic recordings with Muddy Waters somehow have overshadowed the full breadth of his recorded genius. This being said, perhaps the only thing having overlooking this genius may be the Hall-of-Fame agenda.

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