Cover image for Blues with a feeling : the Little Walter story
Blues with a feeling : the Little Walter story
Glover, Tony.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Routledge, [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 314 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML419.L58 G56 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
ML419.L58 G56 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Whenever you hear the prevalent wailing blues harmonica in commercials, film soundtracks or at a blues club, you are experiencing the legacy of the master harmonica player, Little Walter. Immensely popular in his lifetime, Little Walter had fourteen Top 10 hits on the R&B charts, and he was also the first Chicago blues musician to play at the Apollo. Ray Charles and B.B. King, great blues artists in their own right, were honored to sit in with his band. However, at the age of 37, he lay in a pauper's grave in Chicago. This book will tell the story of a man whose music, life and struggles continue to resonate to this day.

Author Notes

Tony Glover has been a professional musician/writer since 1962. He is the author of a best-selling guide to playing the blues harmonica, in continuous print for over 4 decades. He has performed in a legendary blues trio with "Spider" John Koerner and Dave Ray off and on since the 1960s. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota
Scott Dirks has written for blues magazines, hosted blues radio, produced blues recordings, and performed in blues bands over the last 20 years. He lives outside of Chicago, Illinois
Ward Gaines is a graphic designer, art restorer and professional musician, and is a noted writer and researcher on the blues. He lives in Washington, DC

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Blues-harp blower Tony "Little Sun" Glover and his collaborators say Little Walter Jacobs "was to harmonica blues what Charlie Parker was to jazz saxophone." Jacobs' playing, much of it in Muddy Waters' band, "set the standard" for and "creat[ed] much of the musical language" of the modern blues harp. Bedeviled by a roving eye for the ladies (one of his best-known songs, "Boom Boom, Out Go the Lights," however, seems a simple statement of misogyny) and addictions that compromised his health, Jacobs was also the epitome of the urban bluesman. "Coupling his small 10-hole Hohner Marine Band harmonica with . . . cheap microphones," he "easily overloaded public address amplifiers" in the 1940s, but then he incorporated "the distortion and harsh tones produced when pushing amplifiers beyond their intended limits." That leads the authors to liken his innovations to the groundbreaking electric guitar tactics of Jimi Hendrix in the '60s. An excellent shelfmate for Robert Gordon's recent Muddy Waters biography, Can't Be Satisfied [BKL Ap 1 02]. --Mike Tribby

Library Journal Review

Little Walter (born Marion Walter Jacobs in 1930) was perhaps the finest Chicago-style blues harmonica player of all time. Learning from such greats as Sonny Boy Williamson, he rose to superstar status as sideman to blues giant Muddy Waters and took the lowly harmonica to a place of prominence as an expressive, powerful electrified lead instrument of almost vocal qualities. Collaborating via e-mail, noted blues scholars Glover, Ward Gaines, and Scott Dirks unearthed important information on the artist's shadowy life through interviews and library research. They paint a picture of Walter as a fiery, independent soul who lived fast and loose and died tragically as a result of a street fight at the age of 37. But for his vast musical contributions, all modern blues harmonica players certainly owe a debt to this musical pioneer. A pleasant read intended for a lay audience, this is the only biography available on Walter, and all public and music libraries with blues aficionados should add it to their collections. Bill Walker, Stockton-San Joaquin Cty. P.L., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. v
Prefacep. ix
1. Night train: Louisiana 1920-43p. 1
2. Good evenin' everybody: New Orleans/Helena, Arkansas: 1943-44p. 13
3. Wonder harmonica king: St. Louis/Points South/Chicago: Summer 1943-46p. 23
4. I just keep loving her: Chicago/Points South and/or St. Louis/Chicago: c. 1946-48p. 37
5. Ebony boogie: Chicago/Helena/Mississippi/Chicago: September 1948-Fall 1951p. 51
6. "Juke" Chicago Blues Turns a Corner: Winter 1951-52p. 71
7. Diamonds and cadillac cars: Chicago/East and West Coasts/Southern States: January 1953-February 1954p. 91
8. You gonna miss me when i'm gone: Chicago/The South and East: February-Fall 1954p. 115
9. Roller coaster: Chicago/Alexandria, Louisiana/Boston/Chicago: Fall 1954-Fall 1955p. 133
10. I've had my fun: Chicago/The South/Chicago: December 1955-December 1957p. 155
11. Crazy mixed up world: Chicago and On the Road: January 1958-Autumn 1959p. 177
12. I ain't broke, i'm badly bent: Chicago: Fall 1959-February 1963p. 203
13. Back in the alley: Chicago/London/San Francisco/Boston: Winter 1963-Fall 1966p. 225
14. Mean old world: Chicago/Europe/UK/Chicago: Fall 1966-February 1968p. 251
Epilogue: 1968-Presentp. 275
Chronological recordingsp. 285
Sources and notesp. 297
Bibliographyp. 303
Indexp. 307