on 13 August 2003
Wow, Little Walter can do things with a harmonica that most can only dream of. Experts still aren't sure just how he achieved some of the sounds that he created with what is essentially a rather simple instrument.
Mostly recording during the 50's, Little Walter was a pioneer in bringing electric amplification to the harmonica, and taking it a step further, much like Hendrix did with the guitar. Fans of Blues music will more than likely have other versions by other artists of the songs on the album, the majority of them being blues standards. But Walter brought a freshness and vibrancy to the sound at the time, that it still permeates through the music now, and his techniques are still to this day a mystery.
Blues fans should definately own something by Little Walter in their collection, and this collection of his Chess recordings is an excellent choice. Track 7 "Blues with a feeling" has been covered by countless blues artists,and is a well recognised standard but just take a listen to this version. You'll see what I mean.
on 19 February 2015
Thanks to the Chess recordings released on Pye International and the budget label Marble Arch in the 1960s , artists like Muddy Waters , Howlin` Wolf , Sonny Boy Williamson , John Lee Hooker and Little Walter became household names for a large section of British youth . In the U.S., having enjoyed their popularity mostly with a working class Black audience in the 1950s , they were now considered to be a bit old hat . Blues was out and Soul was "in" . To British blues fans these guys were living legends and the old Chess recordings were selling like hot cakes in record shops all over the U.K. . Little Walter was a brilliant exponent of the chromatic harmonica rather than the simpler blues harp and first gained attention in the Muddy Waters Band . He soon turned out to be a great singer and songwriter in his own right . He was a bit younger than many of his colleagues and proved successful at providing Chess with many hits both at a local and national level . He was one of Chess label`s most successful blues artists getting 14 records in the Billboard R&B Charts between 1952 and 1958 . You`ll find much of his best material on this collection .
on 31 August 2007
This CD is the best place to start when looking to buy a Little Walter CD as it features 20 of the very best tracks that he recorded during his golden period with Chess in the 1950's when he chalked up hit after hit on the US r&b charts and the 20 tracks here are proof that Little Walter was (and still is) the finest blues harmonica player the world has ever seen.
From his first big hit `Juke' in 1952, the CD includes most of his big r&b hits including `Sad Hours', `Off The Wall', `My Babe' etc and some of the musicians that backed Walter here include legendary guitarist Jimmy Rogers, the excellent Otis Spann on piano, the great man Muddy Waters who plays slide guitar on one of Walter's most famous hits: `Key To The Highway' which is included here and the great songwriter and bass player Willie Dixon who plays bass on most of Little Walter's songs.
Although it's impossible to include all of Little Walter's big hits and other famous songs on a 20 track album, I'm curious as to why `Oh Baby', `You Better Watch Yourself' and the incredible `Blue Light' haven't been included as these are 3 essentials, maybe Chess will release a volume 2 in this series as I've noticed they've done that with the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Chuck Berry in the same series.
Little Walter was the harmonica player with Muddy Water's band up until he decided to go solo, so you know he must be pretty good. In 1952 he decided to strike out on his own, with his first single the instrumental `Juke' The success of this led to what should have been a fruitful solo career. All his big hits have been collected onto this single disc best of celebrating 50 years of the Chess label.
This is a record packed full of driving, uptempo blues of the highest order. Walter was primarily a harp player, but could lay down a mean vocal if required. Apart from the aforementioned `Juke', there is a classic rendition of Willie Dixon's `My Babe', and the definitive `Boom Boom, Out Go The Lights', in which his snarling tones and ferocious harmonica really make you fear for the life of his adversary! As well as Walter on vocals and harp, many of the tracks feature Willie Dixon on Bass, and Juke features Muddy Waters on guitar.
This is a decent collection, bringing together 20 original recordings from the great man, and covering all the important hits. One worth getting for any fan of foot stomping blues played with passion.