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Music In America:
Chris Strachwitz presents the music of Little Walter

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 77 min
Event Type: Music Program Origin: KPFA

The great singer and harmonica blues legend Little Walter is discussed just 18 months after his death in Chicago at age 37 and presented by Arhoolie Records founder Chris Strachwitz. Louisiana-born Marion Walter Jacobs (1930-1968) came to be known as the Charlie Parker or Jimi Hendrix of his instrument, the harmonica. He revolutionized its use by cupping a small microphone in his hand over the instrument and amplifying it directly into the public address system, making it equal in volume to the electric guitar.

This collection of rare performances, including selections from acetates and 78s, was recorded on September 24, 1969, at KPFA FM in Berkeley by engineer Dan McCloskey and first broadcast on October 18, 1969. It’s notable for an enthusiastic, young-sounding Strachwitz, unleashing his treasured collection of sides from the late Forties not yet reissued on LP. He recalled, “At first I didn’t care for his recordings because he didn’t have a distinctive voice like Howlin’ Wolf or Muddy Waters. He was at his best accompanying others.” But Strachwitz came to appreciate the striking use of the harmonica that later influenced "even white musicians like Paul Butterfield and Charlie Musselwhite.” And the energy and expressive nature of his interpretations shine through in this crackling 75-minute survey of his performances.

Musical Selections:  Ora-Nelle Blues (1947) / Othum Brown and Little Walter -- I Just Keep Loving Her (1947) / Little Walter -- Muscadine Blues (1950) -- Bad Acting Woman (1950) / Little Walter Trio -- The Boll Weevil (1950) -- Crazy Legs (1953) -- Quarter to Twelve (1953) -- Too Late (1954) -- Lights Out (1954) -- Mellow Down Easy (1954) -- Rocker (1954) -- I Got To Find My Baby (1954) -- Thunderbird (1955) -- Roller Coaster (1955) -- Crazy For My Baby (1955) -- I Got To Go (1955) -- It Ain’t Right (1956) -- Flying Saucer (1956) -- It’s Too Late Brother (1956) -- Teenage Beat (1956) -- Take Me Back (1956) -- Just A Feeling (1956) -- Blue Midnight (1960) / Little Walter
Performers:  Little Walter, harmonica, vocals, guitar
Othum Brown, guitar and vocals (Ora-Nelle Blues); guitar (Just Keep Loving Her)
Little Walter Trio: Muddy Waters, guitar; Little Walter, guitar, and vocals; Leroy Foster, drums
Fred Below, drums (Crazy Legs, Too Late, Lights Out, Got To Find My Baby, Thunderbird, Roller Coaster, Crazy For My Baby, I Got To Go, It Ain’t Right, It’s Too Late Brother, Flying Saucer, Teenage Beat, Take Me Back, Just A Feeling)
David Miles, guitar (Crazy Legs, Too Late, Lights Out, Crazy For My Baby, It Ain’t Right, Flying Saucer)
Louis Miles, guitar (Crazy Legs, Too Late, Lights Out, Rocker, Got To Find My Baby)
Willie Dixon, bass (Rocker, Lights Out, Got To Find My Baby, Thunderbird, Roller Coaster, Crazy For My Baby, I Got To Go, It Ain’t Right, It’s Too Late Brother, Flying Saucer, Teenage Beat, Take Me Back, Just A Feeling, Blue Midnight)
Robert Lockwood Jr., guitar (Rocker, Got To Find My Baby, Thunderbird, Roller Coaster, Crazy For My Baby, I Got To Go, It Ain’t Right, It’s Too Late Brother, Flying Saucer, Teenage Beat, Take Me Back, Just A Feeling)
Otis Spann, piano (Got To Find My Baby)
Leonard Caston, guitar (Thunderbird)
Bo Diddley, guitar (Roller Coaster)
Luther Tucker, guitar (It’s Too Late Brother, Teenage Beat, Take Me Back, Just A Feeling, Blue Midnight)
George Hunter, drums (Blue Midnight)
Genre:  Blues Music
Subject:  Blues (Music)--1961-1970; Blues (Music)--1941-1950; Harmonica music
People:  Little Walter, 1930-1968; Strachwitz, Chris; Brown, Othum; Muddy Waters, 1915-1983; Foster, Leroy, 1923-1958; Below, Fred, 1926-1988; Dixon, Willie, 1915-1992; Lockwood, Robert Jr., 1915-2006; Spann, Otis, 1930-1970; Bo Diddley, 1928-2008; Tucker, Luther; Miles, David (Guitarist); Miles, Louis (Guitarist); Caston, Leonard; Hunter, George
Recording Date:  09/24/1969
First Broadcast Date:  10/18/1969
 
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