LITTLE WALTER PLAYING AMPLIFIED HARMONICA LIVE IN A CHICAGO CLUB WITH A TOP QUALITY BAND! I’ve been waiting to hear At Peppers Lounge Vol 1 for years (the recordings were originally released on a Euro label in 1975). They Feature drummer Sam Lay’s amateur recordings from the legendary Chicago club.
A few days ago a kind soul uploaded Vol 1 to Youtube. There are two Walter performances - She’s Nineteen Years Old and My Babe. The good news - both are musically awesome performances that show Walter even at this late stage of career was streaks ahead of everyone else in terms of concept and musicality.
In both, he backs up Sam Lay on vocals/drums and they showcase his ability to enhance standard blues structures by embellishing and enhancing the melody and playing off the groove. Nineteen Years Old is great - he utilises some of the original riffs from the Chess single he recorded with Muddy and his playing on this song at Peppers Lounge really adds emotional weight and tension to the performance.
However - the real treat is the revved up version of My Babe - where Walter again locks into the modified riff and brings out the best of the vocal melody and then launches into a very amazing two chorus solo. It showcases an amazing use of space, rhythm and phrasing that builds towards a very tasty (and not heard in any of his previous recordings) melodic run in the second verse.
Also there is an incredible interplay between Walter and Sam Lay on drums - with Sam Lay providing a very cool hard driven Chicago blues/ jazz hybrid style. Its really a 34 second hint at what you might of heard from Walter live - but for all fans and harmonica players its worth savouring the solo and learning it note for note as there is a lot here of great value!
As such I’ve isolated the solo and bumped up the volume and had a play with the levels and present the solo here for ease of reference! Hope you enjoy!
I actually got a copy of this from Scott Dirks, one of the authors of the LW bio and there's more than just this. It was recorded a few months before LW's death. ---------- Sincerely, Barbeque Bob Maglinte Boston, MA http://www.barbequebob.com CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte
Last Edited by barbequebob on Jul 19, 2021 8:42 AM
On both volumes there's some titles credited to LW, but I think is more likely Louis Myers playing. There are some little tiny differences, specially if you compare "19 years old" and "my baby" with the others. The quality of the recordings does not help much, but to my ears is Louis Myers, not LW. For example, on Vol 2, there's "Off the Wall", very close to this video https://youtu.be/F5m7Dve4ibo