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About Them Shoes
Review Date: Oct, 2009
by Dick Houff
Well folks, the long awaited Hubert Sumlin album has arrived. It took a few years to get it off the ground, but believe me, now that it’s in stores; this baby is going to take off like a bat out of hell! Hubert Sumlin isn’t just another guitar legend. He’s one of the most influential guitarists on both sides of the Atlantic. Rock legends such as Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Hendrix have all in one way or another been touched by Sumlin. And there are countless blues guitarists that have picked up the "Sumlin Vibe."
Sumlin’s career started with his childhood friend, James Cotton. As Cotton’s lead guitar player, the band eventually landed in Memphis, and started recording at Sun Records. Around the same time, Howlin’ Wolf was recording at Sun. Wolf liked what he saw in Sumlin’s ax attack and took him into his band in 1954. He played with Howlin’ Wolf for the next 25 years (he had a brief outing during this period with the Muddy Waters Band–Sumlin was a hot commodity!). I believe this is where the real guitar magic took hold. Wolf worked hard on his songs and Hubert was right there–every step of the way. Wolf also like the spontaneous approach and Hubert was able to pick it up! I mean he could create and improv off of Wolf, and was able to read the man like a book–totally cool. Take a-listen to all those old Chess Records and check out Hubert’s guitar licks–now that’s magic. On this outing,
Mr. Sumlin, is about 73 years young. He’s one of the kindest men I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. And this disc shows all the fireworks that you’d expect–and what a guest list: Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Bob Margolin, Levon Helm, Paul Oscher, James Cotton, Mudcat Ward, and still they come –and of course, Hubert Sumlin, on lead guitar, as it should be. There are 13 bad ass numbers–this is a winner!alton, and Hampton Hawes. Matt McCabe must have absorbed a wonderful grab bag of ideas from these titans, because I had a difficult time differentiating between teacher and student on Blues And Jazz Piano.
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