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Encyclopedia > Walter Horton

Big Walter Horton (born April 6, 1918 - died December 8, 1981) was an African American blues harmonica player. April 6 is the 96th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (97th in leap years). ... 1918 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... December 8 is the 342nd day (343rd in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1981 is a common year starting on Thursday. ... African Americans, also known as Afro-Americans or black Americans, are an ethnic group in the United States of America whose ancestors, usually in predominant part, were indigenous to Sub-Saharan and West Africa. ... Blues is a vocal and instrumental musical form which evolved from African American spirituals, shouts, work songs and chants and has its earliest stylistic roots in West Africa. ... A harmonica A harmonica is a free reed musical wind instrument (also known, among other things, as a mouth organ, french harp, simply harp, or Mississippi saxophone), having multiple, variably-tuned brass or bronze reeds, each secured at one end over an airway slot of like dimension into which it...


Born Walter Horton in Horn Lake, Mississippi, he was playing a harmonica by the time he was five years old. In his early teens, he lived in Memphis, Tennessee where he became part of the a group known as the "Memphis Jug Band". His earliest recordings might have been with the Memphis Jug Band, but because there was little notes on the musicians involved, it's hard to know. His career was marked by existing on a meagre income and living with constant discrimination in a segrated America. For years, he played with blues groups across the southern United States and in the 1940s began playing in Chicago. His first official recordings were made there, during the early 40's. They are mostly accoustic duo with a guitarist, a setup popularized mainly by Sleepy John Estes with his harmonicist Hammie Nixon. On these recordings, Walter's style is not fully constructed, but there are clear hints of what is to come. There is also rumors that he might have taught some harp to Little Walter and even the original Sonny Boy Williamson, but this is probably not true. He eventually stopped playing the harp for a living, due to poor health, and took different jobs. With family and friends he frequently returned to Memphis where, in the early 1950s, he made some of the first recordings for Sam Phillips at Sun Records, who would later record Rock and Roll superstar Elvis Presley and Country giant Johnny Cash. Horn Lake is a city located in DeSoto County, Mississippi. ... City nickname: The River City or The Bluff City Location in the state of Tennessee County Shelby County, Tennessee Area  - Total  - Water 763. ... For the female singer by the same name, see Sam Phillips (singer) Sam Phillips, born Samuel Cornelius Phillips (January 5, 1923 - July 30, 2003), was a record producer and the man responsible for the emergence of rock and roll as the major form of popular music in the 1950s. ... Sun Records has been the name for four 20th century record labels. ... Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), also known as The King of Rock and Roll, or as just simply The King, was an American singer who had an immeasurable effect on world culture. ... Johnny Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American country music singer and songwriter, known to his fans as The Man in Black, and a member of the outlaw country movement. ...


It is also during the fifties that he came back on the forefront of the Chicago Blues scene as the harmonicist for the Muddy Waters Band. He is featured on some of the best numbers by Waters, both on diatonic harmonica and chromatic harmonica. Big Walter's style had then fully matured. Big Walter is caracterized by his very precise playing, using the full register of the harp (he was probably the first to use the higher notes of the harp with great dexterity). His tone was close to Little Walter's, because he used amplification to bring somme power to his harp, but Big Walter had a more 'lazy' sound, with more flexibility than Little Walter. He also made great use of techniques such as tongue-blocking. McKinley Morganfield (April 4, 1915 - April 30, 1983) is better known as Muddy Waters. ... Little Walter (born Walter Jacobs) (May 1, 1930 - February 15, 1968) was a blues singer and harmonica player. ...


Also known as "Shakey" because of his head motion while playing the harmonica, Horton became part of the Chicago blues scene during the years when blues music gained popularity with white audiences. He toured extensively with a band and in the 1970s he performed at blues and folk festivals in the U.S. and Europe, alone and frequently with Willie Dixon's "Chicago Blues All-Stars." He has also appeared on 70's blues and rock stars album's such as Fleetwood Mac and Johnny Winter. Unfortunatelly, he has never recorded the legendary album that his fans wanted. Some of the best compilations of his work are Mouth-Harp Maestro and Fine Cuts. The Chicago blues is a form of blues music that developed in Chicago by adding electricity, drums, piano, bass guitar and sometimes saxophone to the basic string/harmonica Delta blues. ... World map showing location of Europe A satellite composite image of Europe Europe is geologically and geographically a peninsula, forming the westernmost part of Eurasia. ... Willie Dixon (July 1, 1915 - January 29, 1992) was a well-known American blues bassist, singer, songwriter, and record producer. ... Fleetwood Mac is a rock group led by Mick Fleetwood and John McVie (whose names partially form the groups name), who had their biggest hits in the 1970s. ... Johnny Winter (born February 23, 1944) is an American blues guitarist and singer, well known for being an albino. ...


A quiet, unassuming man, Big Walter Horton is remembered as one of the most gifted harmonica players in the history of blues music. He passed away in Chicago in 1981 and was buried in the Restvale Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois. The Burr Oak and the Restvale cemeteries are located in Alsip, Illinois a suburb about 20 miles southwest of the city of Chicago. ... Alsip is a village located in Cook County, Illinois. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
The BluesHarp Page:Legends:Big Walter Horton (1420 words)
Horton (who is said to have been somewhat shy) was not a natural group leader and therefore has produced few solo albums.
Walter was the master of the single note and his characteristic walking bass line (usually with a deep tone and selection of notes that is unsurpassed) is instantly recognizable.
Walter Horton was born in Horn Lake, MS (April 6, 1917), but his mother soon moved to Memphis where Walter taught himself how to play the harmonica at five years of age.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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