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12-4-2011 - Blues great Hubert Sumlin dies - Shreveporttimes - shreveporttimes.com

Hubert Sumlin (born November 16, 1931) is an American blues guitarist and singer, best known for his celebrated work, from 1955, as guitarist in Howlin' Wolf's band. His singular playing is characterized by "wrenched, shattering bursts of notes, sudden cliff-hanger silences and daring rhythmic suspensions". Listed in Rolling Stone's The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Sumlin continues to tour and play blues guitar. He is cited as a major influence by many artists, including Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Stevie Ray Vaughan., Jimmy Page, and Jimi Hendrix.

Career
Born in Greenwood, Mississippi, Sumlin was raised in Hughes, Arkansas. When he was eight years old, he got his first guitar. As a boy, Sumlin first met Howlin' Wolf (Chester Burnett) by sneaking into a performance. When Burnett relocated from Memphis to Chicago in 1953, his long-time guitarist Willie Johnson chose not to join him. Upon his arrival in Chicago, Wolf first hired Chicago guitarist Jody Williams, and in 1954 Wolf invited Sumlin to relocate to Chicago to play second guitar in his Chicago-based band. Williams left the band in 1955, leaving Sumlin as the primary guitarist in Wolf's band, a position he held almost continuously (except for a brief spell playing with Muddy Waters c. 1956) for the remainder of Wolf's career. Upon Wolf's death in 1976, Sumlin continued on with several other members of the late Burnett's band under the name "The Wolf Pack" until c. 1980. Sumlin has also recorded under his own name, beginning with a session recorded while touring Europe with Burnett in 1964. His latest effort is About Them Shoes, released in 2005 by Tone Cool Records. He underwent lung removal surgery in 2004 but is still going strong as of 2008.

Influences
Early influences that affected Hubert Sumlin's style of play at a young age have been cited by him as, primarily, Muddy Waters, Charley Patton, Lockwood.htm">Robert Lockwood, Jr. and Robert Johnson.

According to an interview cited in Segrest, James and Mark Hoffman. "Moanin' at Midnight,The Life and Times of Howling' Wolf", Howlin Wolf sent Sumlin to a classical guitar instructor at the Chicago Conservatory.

Influence
It is often stated that Sumlin's playing was a vital catalyst for the British Blues boom providing a link from the acoustic blues of the Mississippi delta that was more accessible to electric guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards and Jeff Beck. Indeed, throughout the careers of these artists, many Howlin' Wolf songs have been covered and Sumlin's guitar lines imitated. Examples are Clapton's covers of "Goin' Down Slow", The Rolling Stones' version of "Little Red Rooster", The Yardbirds' version of "Smokestack Lightnin'" and "The Lemon Song" by Led Zeppelin (which is a rework of "Killing Floor"