Sumlin was acknowledged as a major influence on guitarists such as Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy and many more.
Wayne, NJ (December 4, 2011) –The world of blues guitar lost one of its founding fathers when Hubert Sumlin passed away today at the age of 80.
Sumlin was acknowledged as a major influence on guitarists such as Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy and many more. His stinging tone was the backbone of Chester "Howlin' Wolf" Burnett's band from the mid '50s through the rest of Wolf's career. On tunes such as "300 Pounds of Joy," "Killing Floor," and "Wang Dang Doodle" Sumlin laid the foundation for modern blues guitar that has become a required vernacular for any aspiring blues guitarist.
After Wolf's death, Sumlin's output decreased until a resurgence that began with a series of albums on various independent labels such as Black Top, Blind Pig and Blues Special. His 1998 album, I Know You introduced his sound to a whole new generation and allowed him to become a headliner in his own right. In 2004 Sumlin released his final solo album, About Them Shoes, which was conceived and produced by Keith Richards purely as an excuse for Richards to play with one of his heroes. That same year Sumlin underwent surgery to remove a lung, but that didn't slow him down at all as he continued to perform and tour right up until his death.
Guitarist Bob Margolin was a member of Muddy Water's band was a frequent duo partner of Sumlin and on Sumlin's website describes what made his playing special: "When Hubert Sumlin plays guitar he takes you to his World of Blues Feeling -- from despair to ecstasy, from delicate grace to raw power, from lost to found. Though he’s influenced and inspired many of the most famous guitar players, Hubert owns the magic. His style is original and personal and instantly recognizable."