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Whenever you hear the prevalent wailing blues harmonica in commercials, film soundtracks or at a blues club, you are experiencing the legacy of the master harmonica player, Little Walter. Immensely popular in his lifetime, Little Walter had fourteen Top 10 hits on the R&B charts, and he was also the first Chicago blues musician to play at the Apollo. Ray Charles and B.B. King, great blues artists in their own right, were honored to sit in with his band. However, at the age of 37, he lay in a pauper's grave in Chicago. This book will tell the story of a man whose music, life and struggles continue to resonate to this day.
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Tony Glover has been a professional musician/writer since 1962. He is the author of a best-selling guide to playing the blues harmonica, in continuous print for over 4 decades. He has performed in a legendary blues trio with "Spider" John Koerner and Dave Ray off and on since the 1960s. He lives in St. Paul, MN. Ward Gaines is a graphic designer, art restorer and professional musician, and is a noted writer and researcher on the blues. He lives in Washington, DC. Scott Dirks has written for blues magazines, hosted blues radio, produced blues recordings, and performed in blues bands over the last 20 years. He lives outside of Chicago, Illinois.From Booklist:
Blues-harp blower Tony "Little Sun" Glover and his collaborators say Little Walter Jacobs "was to harmonica blues what Charlie Parker was to jazz saxophone." Jacobs' playing, much of it in Muddy Waters' band, "set the standard" for and "creat[ed] much of the musical language" of the modern blues harp. Bedeviled by a roving eye for the ladies (one of his best-known songs, "Boom Boom, Out Go the Lights," however, seems a simple statement of misogyny) and addictions that compromised his health, Jacobs was also the epitome of the urban bluesman. "Coupling his small 10-hole Hohner Marine Band harmonica with . . . cheap microphones," he "easily overloaded public address amplifiers" in the 1940s, but then he incorporated "the distortion and harsh tones produced when pushing amplifiers beyond their intended limits." That leads the authors to liken his innovations to the groundbreaking electric guitar tactics of Jimi Hendrix in the '60s. An excellent shelfmate for Robert Gordon's recent Muddy Waters biography, Can't Be Satisfied [BKL Ap 1 02]. Mike Tribby
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