Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Harmonica (not Lewinski) – Little Walter

 

You can have all the technology you want but you will never better Little Walter.

Little Walter

Little Walter is the stage name of Marion Walter Jacobs (May 1, 1930February 15, 1968), a blues singer, harmonica player, and guitarist.

Jacobs is generally included among blues music greats—his revolutionary harmonica technique has earned comparisons to Charlie Parker and Jimi Hendrix for its innovation and impact on succeeding generations of harmonica players. His virtuosity and musical innovations fundamentally altered many listeners’ expectations of what was possible on blues harmonica. Little Walter’s body of work earned him a spot in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the sideman category on March 10, 2008, making him the only artist ever to be inducted specifically for his work as a harmonica player.

Jacobs made his first released recordings in 1947 for Bernard Abram’s tiny Ora-Nelle label, which operated out of the back room of Abrams’ Maxwell Radio and Records store in the heart of the Maxwell Street market area in Chicago. These and several other early Little Walter recordings, like many blues harp recordings of the era, owed a strong stylistic debt to pioneering blues harmonica player Sonny Boy Williamson I (John Lee Williamson). Little Walter joined Muddy Waters‘ band in 1948, and by 1950, he was playing on Muddy’s recordings for Chess Records; for years after his departure from Muddy’s band in 1952, Little Walter continued to be brought in to play on his recording sessions, and as a result his harmonica is featured on most of Muddy’s classic recordings from the 1950s

Jacobs’ own career took off when he recorded as a bandleader for Chess’ subsidiary label Checker Records on 12 May 1952; the first completed take of the first song attempted at his debut session was a hit, spending eight weeks in the #1 position on the Billboard magazine R&B charts – the song was “Juke“, and it is still the only harmonica instrumental ever to become a #1 hit on the R&B charts. (Three other harmonica instrumentals by Little Walter also reached the Billboard R&B top 10: “Off the Wall” reached #8, “Roller Coaster” achieved #6, and “Sad Hours” reached the #2 position while Juke was still on the charts.) “Juke” was the biggest hit to date for Chess and its affiliated labels, and one of the biggest national R&B hits of 1952, securing Walter’s position on the Chess artist roster for the next decade. Little Walter scored fourteen top-ten hits on the Billboard R&B charts between 1952 and 1958, including two #1 hits (the second being “My Babe” in 1955), a feat never achieved by his former boss Waters, nor by his fellow Chess blues artists Howlin’ Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson II. Following the pattern of “Juke”, most of Little Walter’s single releases in the 1950s featured a vocal on one side, and an instrumental on the other. Many of Walter’s numbers were originals which he or Chess A&R man Willie Dixon wrote or adapted and updated from earlier blues themes. In general, his sound was more modern and uptempo than the popular Chicago blues of the day, with a jazzier conception than other contemporary blues harmonica players.

“My Babe” – Little Walter 

 

To buy the music of Little Walter click HERE

 

 

October 9, 2009 Posted by | Blues, Humour, Old Music, Video | , | 4 Comments

Puppet On A String – Sandie Shaw

Time for some Sandie Shaw

DR1001_Sandie_SHAW 1219

Sandie Shaw (born Sandra Ann Goodrich, 26 February 1947, Dagenham, Essex, England) is a British singer. She was, as described in the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums, “the barefoot pop princess of the 1960s”, owing to her distinctive penchant of performing on stage without shoes. This distinctive vocalist, who has a 41 year UK chart span, was the first UK act to win the Eurovision Song Contest.

Puppet on a String” is the name of the Eurovision Song Contest-winning song in 1967.

It was her thirteenth UK single release. The song was a UK Singles Chart number one hit on 27 April 1967, staying at the top for a total of three weeks. The song is not to be confused with the Bennett-Tepper song of the same name that was performed by Elvis Presley.

Shaw had originally performed the song as one of five prospective numbers to represent the United Kingdom in the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest on The Rolf Harris Show. She had never been taken with the idea of taking part in the contest but her discoverer, Adam Faith, had talked her into it, saying it would keep her manager Eve Taylor happy. Taylor wanted to give Shaw a more cabaret appeal and felt that this was the right move – and also felt that it would get Shaw back in the public’s good books as she had recently been involved in a divorce scandal.

Of the five songs performed, “Puppet on a String” was Shaw’s least favourite. In her own words “I hated it from the very first oompah to the final bang on the big bass drum. I was instinctively repelled by its sexist drivel and cuckoo-clock tune.” She was disappointed when it was selected as the song she would use to represent the country, but it won the contest hands down, though it has always been felt that this was partly due to her existing popularity on the continent (she had recorded most of her hit singles in French, Italian, German and Spanish). As a result “Puppet on a String” became her third Number One hit in the UK (a record for a female at the time) and was a big worldwide smash (the biggest selling single of the year in Germany).

October 9, 2009 Posted by | Humour, Video | , | 1 Comment

   

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