Hubert Sumlin
@ The Blues Saloon New Year's Eve Party December 31, 1996/1997

Hubert Sumlin
Blues Saloon, New Year's Eve
Photo © 1996/7 by Tom Asp.
All rights reserved.
What can I say? Howlin' Wolf's guitar player for over 25 years! Hubert Sumlin is one fun guy to watch play. The unique twists and turns he takes you on with his guitar playing is just amazing. Many times you just didn't know where he was going next with his guitar solos. I'm not even sure he knew. I know the band he was playing with that night was having a fun time trying to figure out which direction he was heading next or even what key he was in! At the break he said "you can't write my music down." I can see why. He creates it as he plays.

Some Blues Saloon regulars were Sumlin's band for the night; David Garnett on bass, Leonard Shapiro on guitar and Randle Pye on drums. They had their work cut out for them and were more than up to the fun task. The show was almost like a jam session. Hubert would start a song that you think you recognized and then all of a sudden he would take off into another dimension! Sumlin may not be the best man to front a band and his voice may not be that strong but boy can he play a guitar. There were many times that night I just shook my head in amazement.

Hubert Sumlin
Photo © 1997 by Chuck Winans. All rights reserved.
Jimmy O'Neal, a local singer (he sings with Miki L. Startime), came up during the second set and sang two songs with Hubert assuming the supporting role he is most accustomed to (playing with Wolf for all those years in Chicago). Sumlin really shined during this segment -- he was in his element and provided some brilliant guitar playing. Later in the show, his performance of Hide Away (one of my favorite songs) stands out as one of the most intriguing versions I have heard in a long time.

Hubert Sumlin is a very friendly man. He had hugs and hand shakes for everyone in the audience. He went out of his way to make you feel welcome and glad you were there. He said this is what is keeping him going at 65 years old -- playing his guitar and performing. He said "I don't play everything, but I play what you like... I play a little blues." Well Hubert, we certainly did like what you played and enjoyed bringing in the New Year with you.

Mailbox E-mail Ray Stiles at:

Table of Contents:
Return To Home Page | Calendar | Spotlight | Live Reviews | New Reviews | Photo Gallery
CD Reviews | New CD Releases | Blues Links | Blues Bios | Blues Artists | Blues Clubs | Blues Jams

Free web pages from GeoCities

Copyright © 1997 by Ray M. Stiles
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.