About Blues Music: Little Walter Jacobs

About Blues Music: Walter Jacobs   (May 1, 1930 – Feb. 15, 1968)

An innovator of blues harmonica, Marion Walter Jacobs, a.k.a. “Little Walter,” is the only artist inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame as a harmonica player. Born and raised in Louisiana, Jacobs quit school when he was 12. He later worked odd jobs and lived in New Orleans, Memphis, Arkansas, St. Louis and Helena, developing his skills on guitar and harmonica with older bluesmen as guides before hitting the Chicago blues scene in 1947. On Maxwell Street at the Jewish market district, Jacobs met and played with other musicians for tips and also learned guitar. He joined the Muddy Waters Band in 1948 and became an integral part of Chicago blues sound. Jacobs used electronic distortion by pushing his harmonica amplifiers beyond technical limits to create new effects.


What is blues music about according to Walter Jacobs: Jacobs’ music was about energy, creativity and flexibility. He fused the styles of John Lee Williamson with the jump blues of saxophonist Louis Jordan.


How to gear up like Walter Jacobs: To play like Jacobs, try a Hohner Special 20 in the key of C or a Hohner Marine Band harmonica.


Essential Blues music tracks from Walter Jacobs: “Juke,” “Mean Old World,” “Blues with a Feeling,” “Key to the Highway.”


Famous for playing with: Sonny Boy Williamson II, Sunnyland Slim, Honeyboy Edwards, Muddy Waters


Well known covers: NONE

Listen to clips: “My Babe” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duRp_avXtMM

“Blues with a Feeling” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoY9Y-jAYX0

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