Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mark Hummel Salutes Little Walter

Mark Hummel’s Blues and Lonesome: Tribute to Little Walter (Rockinitus Records) is a compilation from recordings he has made over the years in homage to Little Walter. Little Walter Jacobs arguably was the most important and influential harmonica player of all time and his songs have been part of Hummel’s repertoire over the years.

Hummel, in his liner notes, was friends with three individuals who had spent time playing and recording with little Walter: Luther Tucker, Dave Myers and Francis Clay, as well as several musicians such as Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith, who played with walter when Walter would play with Muddy Waters Band in the sixties prior to his death in 1968. Tucker, Myers and Smith are present on several of these recordings, while many of the tracks feature members of Hummel’s band, the Blues Survivors.

While fans of Hummel may have most of these selections from his albums, it is convenient to have these all in one CD. His fans, and those of Little Walter’s music, will enjoy his tribute. The performances here are modeled on the originals and are strong, idiomatic renditions of classic Chicago Blues that Hummel sings and plays strongly on.

While the level of the performances is high throughout, several selections standout including the title track on which the late Luther Tucker is present. Tucker played on the original, and is able to stretch out with some startling guitar that he could not on the original 45 rpm single. With just guitarist Rusty Zinn, Hummel does a nice job reworking Walter’s “I Just Keep Loving Her,” and there there is the rocking shuffle “My Kinda Baby” with a terrific band that included the late Dave Myers along with Billy Flynn on guitars, pianist Barrelhouse Chuck, bassist Bob Stroger and drummer Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith.

I purchased this from and you might also check Mark Hummel’s own website, Here is a video of Mark playing a Little Walter number not on the CD.

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