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Essential Little Walter


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Audio CD, June 8, 1993
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$99.56 $35.00

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Essential is right! The blues would be a very different, considerably tamer animal were it not for Little Walter. While the Chess roster in the '50s was littered with aces, only Muddy Waters scored on the charts with greater regularity. The reason? While the man born Marion Walter Jacobs possessed a serviceable voice and penned some worthy tracks, he was a towering virtuoso on the harmonica. Indeed, he remains the single most influential figure in the development of amplified harp as a lynchpin blues instrument. This handy two-disc set features 46 tracks cut between 1952 and 1963. Tracks such as the revolutionary "Juke," "Mellow Down Easy," "Key to the Highway," and "My Babe" have become roadhouse staples, but Little Walter's versions stand their ground over most and top all but a few. --Steven Stolder

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Juke (Single Version) 2:44$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Can't Hold Out Much Longer (Single Version) 3:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Boogie 3:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Blue Midnight (Alternate Take) 3:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Mean Old World (Single Version) 2:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Sad Hours (Single Version) 3:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Don't Need No Horse 3:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Tell Me Mama (Single Version) 2:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Off The Wall (Single Version) 2:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Quarter To Twelve 3:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Blues With A Feeling (Single Version) 3:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Too Late (Single Version) 2:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Fast Boogie 2:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Lights Out 2:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Fast Large One 2:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. You're So Fine (Single Version) 3:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Oh Baby (Single Version) 2:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. I Got To Find My Baby 2:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. Last Night 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen20. You Better Watch Yourself 3:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen21. Mellow Down Easy (Single Version) 2:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen22. My Babe (Single Version) 2:42$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen23. Roller Coaster (Single Version) 2:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen24. Little Girl 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Hate To See You Go (Single Version) 2:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Boom, Boom Out Goes The Light (Single Version) 2:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. It Ain't Right (Single Version) 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. It's Too Late Brother 2:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Just A Feeling 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Ah'w Baby 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. I've Had My Fun 2:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Confessin' The Blues (Single Version) 3:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Key To The Highway (Single Version) 2:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Walkin' On 2:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. You Gonna Be Sorry (Someday Baby) (Alt.) 3:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Crazy Mixed Up World 2:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Worried Life 2:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Everything's Gonna Be Alright (Single Version) 2:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Back Track 2:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Blue And Lonesome 2:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. I Don't Play 2:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. As Long As I Have You 2:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. Just Your Fool (Single Version) 2:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen20. Up The Line 2:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen21. Southern Feeling 2:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen22. Dead Presidents 2:53$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 8, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Chess Records
  • ASIN: B000002OBZ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,893 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Biography

Who's the king of all post-war blues harpists, Chicago division or otherwise? Why, the virtuosic Little Walter, without a solitary doubt. The fiery harmonica wizard took the humble mouth organ in dazzling amplified directions that were unimaginable prior to his ascendancy. His daring instrumental innovations were so fresh, startling, and ahead of their time that they sometimes sported a ... Read more in Amazon's Little Walter Store

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By S M on June 11, 2001
Format: Audio CD
First things first, for those of you that have the Chess two record/vinyl set called Big Boss Harmonica; the only difference is the records have 4 tracks not found on this cd.
The sound of the cd is superb and 'friggin amazin' given that the track swere recorded in the early fifties to early sixties.
It brings out the high end, essential to harmonica playing and the guitar/drum backup, that got lost when put on vinyl.
You get rich driving harmonica playing that can be as raw as Sonny Boy Williamsom II (Rice Miller) and as Jazzy/Soulful as Toots Theilman, thus listening to the 46 tracks do not become repetitive.
The enclosed booklet is a masterpiece, not only giving information on who played on the tracks and when they were recorded, but an in depth analysis of the feeling and style exhibited on each track (by Walter and the backup players), including an honest appraisal of Walters' playing in the few last tracks done for Chess showing a diminishing of his skills.
Everything is here; terrific sound quality, terrific writing, all his hits and tracks that were not hits but of the highest musicianship and other tracks showing an honest critique of the man, that may not have been gems but show Walter was human and had his falicies.
On a ten scale it gets a 9/10.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Docendo Discimus on September 7, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Wow, look at the price for a used copy of this CD. I should consider selling mine...
Anyway. Little Walter Jacobs was without a doubt one of the most influential blues harpists of the post-war years.

Originally a harp player and occational guitarist with Muddy Waters' band, Walter jumped ship when his instrumental "Juke" became a hit in 1952, and launched a solo career.
He wasn't as competent or indeed as versatile a songwriter as the other major harp wizard of the 50s and 60s, Aleck 'Rice' Miller (Sonny Boy Williamson II), but this collection still manages to gather a large number of classic blues tunes, including Walter's takes on several Willie Dixon songs, Bo Diddley's "Roller Coaster", Big Maceo Merriweather's "Worried Life Blues", and Big Bill Broonzy's "Key To The Highway" (shamelessly credited to Jacobs himself).

Among the many highlights are Walter's instrumental "Juke", with Jimmy Rogers and Muddy Waters playing guitar, as well as "Tell Me Mama", "My Babe", "I Got To Find My Baby", "Can't Hold Out Much Longer", Walter's own "Blues With A Feeling", Willie Dixon's swaggering "Dead Presidents", the menacing "Boom Boom Out Goes The Light", T-Bone Walker's "Mean Old World", and Jimmy Oden's "Going Down Slow" (which is titled "I've Had My Fun", but it's the same song). And if you ever saw Muddy Waters in concert during the last years of his life, you may have seen him do one of Walters' best songs, the swaggering "Everything's Gonna Be Alright". That one is here as well.

This set is almost too much for the casual listener...
Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Steven Sample on June 11, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This collection is not only essential walter Jacobs, it is essentially the player who all who dare to make the harmonica a significant instrument is measured against. Like Charlie parker is to saxophone as Jimi hendrix is to guitar is Little Walter is to harmonica. There has been some greats that have come by such as Charlie Musslewhite or Rod Piazza to name a couple. But they cant pass walters ability to innovate. Technique is so much to be measured. ability is found and considered when a person gives himself to his art and that what he did. His use of rythm and deep swooping lines attack the center of the human emotions that captures the places that cannot be fathomed. The solo's on some of the pieces have the ears wondering if there is two harmonica players or maybe even a saxophone. His work is visionary somewhat like Mozart's is to me. He can move from a longing soul to a swaggering feel to a roller coaster ride and the back up band just follows. a few of his tunes crossed over to R&B charts to make it high on the charts. He is of course a Muddy Waters discovery and is right there with the Shapers of what IS the blueprint of all blues.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. E FELL on April 10, 2001
Format: Audio CD
5 stars is not enough to describe this remastered 2 cd compilation. It should be called monumental rather than essential. This is an anthology of Marion Walter Jacobs Chess material from 1952-1963. This 2 cd anthology contains all of the tracks on "His Best" and all but two of the tracks which were on the old releases "The Best Of Little Walter Volumes 1 & 2". Marion Walter Jacobs was the greatest and most influential harmonica player EVER bar none. He was one of first to play using an amplified harmonica and to emulate horn lines using his instrument. He also helped popularize the use of the chromatic harmonica. His uptempo numbers swing like mad and he was also an expert at playing stone blues. He was a great vocalist and was equally adept at playing instrumentals such as "Juke" his first hit. Little Walter took what he learned from Sonny Boy Williamson I and II and improved upon it. He joined Muddy Waters classic band in 1948 and there was no looking back. It was not long until Little Walter wanted to front his own band. He joined the Aces with Louis and David Myers and Fred Below. Other musicians who appear on this compilation are Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, Willie Dixon, Otis Spann, Robert Lockwood, Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy and others. Many of the cuts on these two disks have been covered by other blues and rock artists such as "Mean Old World", "My Babe", "Boom, Boom Out Go The Lights", "Dead Presidents" and others. Every track is interesting and most are blues classics". Some of my favorites include "Hate To See You Go", "Roller Coaster", "It's Too Late Brother" and just about everything on the set.Read more ›
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