Solid blues

Tonight’s Tunedamage excursion is inspired by the AoSHQ ONT’s mention of the incomparable Little Walter’s birthday, which for some reason put me in mind of another blues-harp icon: Sonny Boy Williamson.



Led Zeppelin did an altogether inferior cover of the song, as you probably know. Not that I have anything in particular against Led Zep, mind. But as the current “president” would say: COME ON, MAN!!™

Since I would never want to be accused of shorting Little Walter ’round here:



No harp on this one, just vocals and guitar from one of the most amazing singers ever to grace this plane of existence: the great, great Otis Rush.



Staying in full-on Blues Mode, back we go to the harp for one more master of the instrument: perennial Muddy Waters sideman James Cotton.



Probably shouldn’t bring this up, but one of the biggest laughs I ever had on the road was on opening night of a stint as support act for a certain West Coast trio that shall remain anonymous, whose bass player was also a damned fine harmonicist. Only he didn’t call it a harmonica, or a harp, or a mouth organ, or anything similarly polite. No, to this guy—who turned out to be a total card and a really good dude all around—it was first, last, and always a nigger whistle.

I swear, I snorted so hard I nearly deflated a lung when he casually tossed that one at me while we were standing around waiting for soundcheck to commence. Got a few more good stories from that tour, which I’ll bank for later.

1 thought on “Solid blues

  1. nigger whistle”

    Never heard that before, but I noticed long ago in my youth that a harmonica would cause every black fellow to turn and listen and only maybe 50-60% of white folk. I suspect that is the reason, kind of a Pied Piper instrument?

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