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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Southaven in DeSoto County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
 

Hubert Sumlin

 
 
Hubert Sumlin Marker image. Click for full size.
By Steve Masler, June 17, 2017
1. Hubert Sumlin Marker
Inscription. Hubert Sumlin grew up in Mississippi and Arkansas hearing his churchgoing mother admonish him for playing “the devil’s music”—the blues. But he found out, after sneaking in some blues licks on his guitar in church, that the sounds of the blues could win over even his mother. Sumlin’s innovative musicianship and endearing nature won the hearts of many musicians and admirers in the decades to follow. His boyhood partner, harmonica legend James Cotton, remained a lifelong friend. From 1954 to 1976 Howlin’ Wolf was as much a father figure to Sumlin as he was his musical employer. In later years Sumlin was adopted by a wide range of musicians, club owners, promoters, and producers who crafted a niche for him as a special guest or featured soloist.

Sumlin started playing guitar in church, but was performing blues with James Cotton by the time the two were in their teens, after the Sumlin family had moved from Greenwood to Hughes, Arkansas. Hubert was awestruck at seeing Howlin’ Wolf rock the house at a local juke joint, and when Wolf later offered him a spot in his band in Chicago, Sumlin bade farewell to Cotton and to his family in Arkansas. Sumlin’s years with Wolf were highlighted by groundbreaking recordings such as “Killing Floor,” “300 Pounds of Joy,” “Smokestack Lightning,”
Hubert Sumlin Marker image. Click for full size.
By Steve Masler, June 17, 2017
2. Hubert Sumlin Marker
and “Shake For Me” for the Chess label in Chicago. Wolf, a stern disciplinarian, fired his protégé on numerous occasions, only to rehire him every time. At one time Hubert even joined the band of Wolf’s main rival, Muddy Waters. He also played guitar on records by Muddy, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon, Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller), Eddie Taylor, Sunnyland Slim, Carey Bell, Eddie Shaw, James Cotton, and many others.

When Sumlin and Wolf toured Europe on the 1964 American Folk Blues Festival, Hubert made his first recordings under his own name in Germany and England. His only 45 rpm single came from an acoustic blues session which also marked the first release on the historic Blue Horizon label in England. In later years he recorded albums for labels in France, Germany, Argentina, and the United States. Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan are two of the many guitarists who have named Sumlin as a favorite. He shared stages with Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Santana, Aerosmith, and many others. On the award-winning album About Them Shoes Hubert was joined by Clapton, Keith Richards, Levon Helm, and James Cotton. On May 7, 2008, the day after the unveiling of this marker, Sumlin was inducted into the Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
 
Location. 34° 56.198′ N, 89° 59.536′ W. Marker is in Southaven, Mississippi, in DeSoto County. Marker can be reached from Airways Blvd. Touch for map. Marker is at Tanger Outlet. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5205 Airways Blvd, Southaven MS 38671, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Charley Patton (a few steps from this marker); Po' Monkey's (within shouting distance of this marker); Club Ebony (within shouting distance of this marker); Living Blues (within shouting distance of this marker); Albert King (within shouting distance of this marker); The Peavine Branch (within shouting distance of this marker); Dockery Farms (within shouting distance of this marker); Graceland (approx. 7.8 miles away in Tennessee). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Southaven.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. Hubert Sumlin
 
Also see . . .  Hubert Sumlin playing some riffs. (Submitted on July 4, 2017, by Steve Masler of Memphis, Tennessee.)
 
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicEntertainment
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 7, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 4, 2017, by Steve Masler of Memphis, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 65 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 4, 2017, by Steve Masler of Memphis, Tennessee. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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