Guitarist Hubert Sumlin
Howlin' Wolf

Hubert Sumlin

November 16, 1931, Greenwood, MS ~ December 4, 2011, Wayne, NJ

Sumlin claimed that Burnett fired him more than a hundred times. Once, he was dismissed during a show for having played too loudly, interfering with The Wolf's vocals. ~ Riff Raf: Hubert Sumlin ~ November 16, 2013 © Riffraf

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Although they had a somewhat tempestuous relationship, Sumlin remained loyal to Wolf until the big man's 1976 death. But Sumlin cut a handful of solo sessions before that, beginning with a most unusual 1964 date in East Berlin that was produced by Horst Lippmann during a European tour under the auspices of the American Folk Blues Festival (the “behind the Iron Curtain” session also featured pianist Sunnyland Slim and bassist Willie Dixon). In subsequent years Sumlin allowed his vocal talents to shine, recording solo sets that revealed him to be an understated but effective singer - while his guitar continued to communicate most forcefully. The esteem with which he was held by musicians of a later generation was ably demonstrated by the guest list on Sumlin's 2004 album About Them Shoes, including Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Levon Helm, and David Johansen, not to mention a noted bluesman from Sumlin's own past, harmonica player James Cotton. ~ Allmusic: Hubert Sumlin ~ retrieved November 1, 2013 © Allmusic

Hubert Sumlin ~ Ranked #43 Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Guitarists in 2011 ~ Sumlin, who passed away in 2011 at age 80, played until the end, sometimes turning up onstage in the company of such acolytes as the Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello, Eric Clapton and the Allman Brothers. “You try to tell a story, tell it right, you live the story,” Sumlin once said of his hugely influential guitar style. “It may be a little faster or a little classier, but it comes down to you playin' the blues or you ain't.” ~ 2011 © Rolling Stone

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