His Best: The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection
His Best: The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection
by Little Walter
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Little Walter's huge wailing harp sound makes it easy to understand why people call the harmonica the "Mississippi Sax." This 20-song CD contains all of his biggest numbers, including Juke; My Babe; You're So Fine; Blues with a Feeling; Sad Hours; Mean Old World , and more from the harp-blowing blues master.
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|Audio CD Release Date:||June 17, 1997|
|Studio:||Chess / MCA|
|Number Of Discs:||1|
|Average Customer Rating:|| based on 51 reviews|
|2. ||Can't Hold Out Much Longer|
|3. ||Mean Old World|
|4. ||Sad Hours|
|5. ||Tell Me Mama|
|6. ||Off The Wall|
|7. ||Blues With A Feeling|
|8. ||You're So Fine|
|9. ||Too Late|
|10. ||Last Night|
|11. ||Mellow Down Easy|
|12. ||My Babe|
|13. ||Roller Coaster|
|14. ||Hate To See You Go|
|15. ||It' Ain't Right|
|16. ||Boom, Boom Out Goes The Light|
|17. ||Confessin' The Blues|
|18. ||Key To The Highway|
|19. ||Everything's Gonna Be Alright|
|20. ||Just Your Fool|
|Average Customer Review: ( 51 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
86 of 87 found the following review helpful:
BLUES WITH A FEELIN' Mar 05, 2001
By Patrick Earley
This is a fine compilation of Little Walter's best from the legendary Chess Records. Little Walter was in a league of his own when it came to playing the harp. There was just nobody better. He was a great innovator of the modern day harp sound. And he was the first harp player to go "electric", by using a hand held mike plugged in to an amplifier. This gave him that fat harp tone that seperated him from the rest. They called this new sound the Mississippi Saxophone. Besides having a unique sound, Walter was a fine songwriter whose music has been covered by many of the British artists of the 60's. "It Ain't Right"was covered by John Mayall and Eric Clapton on the classic first Bluesbreakers album. And also the Rolling Stones did a cover of Confessin' The Blues". Little Walter was probably most known for the song "Juke", which he used to play as the opening theme song when he played in the Muddy Waters Band. I think his best instrumental song was "Roller Coaster", which has some unusual opening guitar lines that were very creative for the time, performed by Bo Diddley. But my favorites on here are "My Babe", and "Too Late", both of which Willie Dixon wrote for Walter when he played bass in his band. It's hard to believe these songs were put on vinyl before I was even born. Their timeless. And so is Little Walter. Walter lived a hard life of alcoholism and violence, which eventually led to his death from injuries suffered in a street brawl. He was only 38 when he died, but he left a legacy of great blues music behind. Little Walter had a unique harp sound that nobody's ever been able to copy, or ever will. That's a secret he'll take to the grave.
42 of 42 found the following review helpful:
Best Single Disc Compilation Available, But.... Jul 10, 2005
By "The Woj"
For someone on a budget who is interested in the music of this legendary artist, look no further than this single disc album. The sound and track selection here are excellent. Anyone interested in the blues needs to have at least one Little Walter album in their collection and you can't go wrong here. Another option is Chess's "The Best Of Little Walter" which features only 12 tracks compared to the 20 presented here (personally I give a huge nod to this cd based on track slection, overall sound & price on zShops). But for those of you who have a few extra dollars around, I strongly suggest passing on both single disc releases and opt for the 2 disc set "Essential Little Walter" on the MCA/Chess label. "The Essential" boasts 46 tracks and is more comprehensive than either single disc release. It may be out-of-print, but well worth the find.
42 of 43 found the following review helpful:
Quintessential Jun 25, 2001
By J. Daily
If you are into blues and blues harmonica,this is it. A real deal bluesman who lived the life(see fabulous biographical insert). Part of Muddy Waters band and the electric "revolution." Feel the raw power from his newly developed crunchy, eery back alley, plugged in amplifier sound. Hear the beginnings of modern electric rock & roll. His voice even sounds harplike. Waters and his bandmate Jimmy Rogers play on some tracks,as well as Willie Dixon, Bo Diddly and Otis Spann. From his famous #1 R&B hit instrumental "Juke" to the well known "Boom, Boom out go the lights" every track is a winner. Many tracks recognizable as modern bands have covered some of these. One of my desert island picks.
10 of 10 found the following review helpful:
****1/2. The best place to start, for sure Jun 25, 2004
By Docendo Discimus
This is the best available single-disc overview of Little Walter Jacobs' career.
The highly renowned blues harmonica player was not a singer of the caliber of Muddy Waters, or a songwriter to rival Sonny Boy Williamson (II), but his recording career spanned some 20 years, and there are more than enough gems in his catalogue to fill this disc to the point of overflowing.
"His Best" has the best sound currently available, and excellent liner notes, and while the double-disc "The Essential Little Walter" is more thorough, this is all that most listeners will need. A couple of great songs are missing, most notably Walter's gritty rendition of Willie Dixon's "Dead Presidents", but that's a minor quibble...almost all of Walter's best is here, and if you own MCA/Chess' excellent Willie Dixon-box set you already have "Dead Presidents".
1997's "His Best" takes the place of MCA/Chess' original 12-track LP "The Best Of Little Walter", a landmark blues album which had remained in print for over three decades. Here is his first hit single, the instrumental hit "Juke", as well as Walter's versions of Big Bill Broonzy's "Key To The Highway", Dixon's "My Babe", and T-Bone Walker's "Mean Old World" (shamelessly credited to Jacobs himself). And virtually all of Walter's best self-penned songs are here..."Blues With A Feeling", "Boom Boom, Out Goes The Light", "Tell Me Mama", and numerous often masterful instrumentals.
This is certainly the place to start, the finest single-disc Little Walter-compilation on the market.
8 of 8 found the following review helpful:
Unsurpassed Aug 28, 2007
Marion Walter Jacobs (b. May 1, 1930 in Alexandria, Louisiana), and influenced by the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson (No. 1) and Louis Jordan and his jump saxophone arrangements, quite simply revolutionized the blues harmonica technique when he showed up at Chicago's famed Maxwell Street market in 1947.
Among the hundreds of artists plying their trade in that environment he stood out to the point where he attracted the interest of the small Chicago labels Ora Nelle and Regal where he cut several sides. His big break came in 1951 when the Chess brothers, Leonard and Phil, hired him to back Muddy Waters and Jimmy Rogers, and it was as much his amplified harmonica that made hits out of Mannish Boy, I'm Ready, and Standing Around Crying [by Waters), and That's All Right and The World Is In A Tangle (Rogers).
By 1952 he was assigned to the Checker subsidiary, and by that September he literally burst into prominence when the instrumental Juke streaked to # 1 R&B and remained there for eight solid weeks [the flip was Can't Hold On Much Longer and is erroneously listed in this compilation as "Can't Hold Out ..."). This single was billed to Little Walter and His Night Cats.
The follow-up Sad Hours (instrumental) didn't quite repeat that success, settling for # 2 early in 1953, while the vocal flipside, Mean Old World, reached # 6 as by Little Walter and His Night Caps. Fittingly, Muddy Waters played guitar on each of these first three hits.
When his next hit reached the charts later that spring (Off The Wall, # 8 as an instrumental, and Tell Me Mama, # 10 as a vocal, he was billed as Little Walter and His Jukes in order to capitalize on his debut smash hit. The Jukes consisted of Chess sessionmen Louis and David Myers on guitar and Fred Belows on drums.
From there to 1959 he would add 10 more hit singles to his credit, his last coming in 1959 when Everything Gonna Be Alright (erroneously listed as "Everything's") reached # 25 (his lowest charter) as simply by Little Walter. These included the seminal My Babe, written by Willie Dixon and based upon the old spiritual This Train, which became his only other # 1 hit, staying at that position for five weeks early in 1955.
It would have been nice if, in putting this tribute together, producer Andy McKaie had found room for the three hits omitted - Oh Baby which made it to # 8 in May 1954 b/w Rocker, You'd Better Watch Yourself which reached the same position that September b/w Blue Light, and Who, which reached # 7 in April 1956 b/w It Ain't Right. You can find You'd Better Watch Yourself on The Best Of Little Walter from MCA/Chess, also listed by Amazon.
Adding to this CD's worth are the six pages of liner notes written by the noted music historian Billy Altman, which includes a wonderful story behind Juke, several nice photographs, and a complete discography of the contents. To quote from Mr. Altman "By 1968 he was gone, leaving behind a legacy that harmonica players everywhere regard as, quite simply, the holy grail." That much was recognized by the Blues Hall Of Fame in 1982 when they inducted him among the 20 honoured in their first year of existence. You'd think those pompous ciphers at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame would wake up and at least recognize him in their Early Influence category.
Just a superb collection.
See all 51 customer reviews on Amazon.com
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