From Bob Corritore
December 8, 2011
- RIP Hubert Sumlin - November 16, 1931 to December 4, 2011. Best known for his extraordinary guitar work on the 1950s and 1960s recordings of Howlin' Wolf, Hubert Sumlin is considered among the greatest guitarists of all time. Hubert passed away of a heart attack on Sunday, Dec 4 after a long bout with respiratory illness. He was 80 years old. Though his health had been problematic for years, he continued to tour and delight concert and festival audiences until close to the end. Born in Greenville, Mississippi in 1931 and raised in Hughes, Arkansas, Hubert got his first guitar at age 6. Hubert was very interested in music and as a boy snuck into a nightclub to see Howlin' Wolf perform. Hubert's youthful enthusiasm won Wolf's heart, who took the young boy in and developed a father-like mentoring role with Hubert. Wolf would move to Chicago in 1953 and a year later would call for Hubert to move to Chicago to join his band. Initially Hubert played a secondary role in the group with guitarist Jody Williams getting most of the limelight. But when Jody left the band about 2 years later, Hubert became the star guitarist. Hubert's unorthodox approach, using innovative rhythmic textural lines and wild bursts of lead guitar, became an integral part of the Howlin' Wolf sound., Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters reportedly had a rivalry going as to who had the top blues band in Chicago (both were amazing bands) and for a short period of time Muddy recruited Hubert away from Wolf only to have Hubert return to Wolf's band and never leave again. Hubert's guitar was an essential and consistent part of the success of Wolf's recordings and live shows. The music achieved by the Wolf / Sumlin combination reached the highest of heights in the blues. When Howlin' Wolf recorded the London Sessions in 1970, Hubert began a life long relationship with UK blues artists like Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones. In 1976, when Wolf died, Hubert was devastated. At first Eddie Shaw (Wolf's saxophonist) tried to keep the Howlin' Wolf band together but Hubert would drift: spending time in Austin, Texas under the care of Clifford Antone, or in Chicago where he stayed with Sunnyland Slim. In addition to recordings with Wolf, Hubert appeared on Chicago sessions with Eddie Shaw & The Wolf Gang, Andrew McMahon, Sunnyland Slim, Louisiana Red, Carey Bell, Little Eddie, Big Mac, and others. He recorded numerous albums under his own name for L+R, Black Top, Tone-Cool, Rykodisc, APO, JSP, Blind Pig, Blues Planet, Blues Special and other labels. At a point, under the guidance of manager Toni Ann Mamary, Hubert started to get his due as the guitar legend he was. Hubert found himself hanging around and performing with rock stars, playing major festivals, and having his historic bio, Incurable Blues, published. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2008, Through all this notoriety, Hubert remained the kind, gentle soul with the same boyish enthusiasm that first befriended the Howlin' Wolf. His guitar playing was always intriguing, unorthodox, and impossible to copy. As he was bedridden and nearing the last hours of his life, his final request was to play his guitar one last time. We thank Hubert for the light of joy he shined on the world and the heavenly music that he left for future generations to behold. He was our blues blessing. Special thanks to Hugh Southard of Blue Mountain Artists, Bob Margolin, and Little Frank who worked with him frequently on the road in recent years, Pat Morgan, James Cotton, Paul Oscher, Kim Wilson, Amanda Taylor, Diunna Greenleaf, Twist Turner, Little Mike, and all his friends and fans who all were there at all times to support Hubert.
"Shake For Me" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ex3nc0Km77g&feature=related
"Smokestack Lightnin" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxiYgof34iE&feature=related
Hubert Sumlin Funeral Information:
Sunday, December 11, 2011 - Viewing and Receiving of guests
2- 4 PM & 7 - 9PM
111 Union Blvd.Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - Chicago Area Musical Celebration Of Life
Totowa, NJ 07512 Phone: (973) 790-8686
Totowa, NJ 07512 Phone: (973) 790-8686
6615 W. Roosevelt Road, Berwyn, Illinois 60402
7pm doors, Donations accepted at door.