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beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Harp player names?
Harp player names?
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43 posts
Feb 17, 2017
3:52 AM
Why do all the old time harp players not use their given names? Did they choose their new "stage names" or were they given out by their peers?
If you don't cut it while it's hot......
outdoor joe
41 posts
Feb 17, 2017
3:36 PM
I guess you can say the same about people these days and in other music genres too
47 posts
Feb 18, 2017
7:16 AM
@oj-yes of course. Interested to know if there is a story behind the originals. Mentor names protege? Protege by default take mentors name, or part thereof? I've going to have some listening time on airplanes here soon. I think I'll download Adams history of blues mp3s, see if anything is mentioned there.
If you don't cut it while it's hot......
4518 posts
Feb 18, 2017
6:03 PM
Stage names? Or nicknames? Or both maybe.
I dunno about Sonny Boy Williamson, but Sonny Boy Williamson 2 was apparently dubbed this, somewhat dishonestly, by the radio station manager to try and cash in on the success enjoyed by the real Sonny Boy Williamson. Not that 'Sonny Boy' Miller wasn't equally deservingon Miller didn't record under that name until Sonny Boy Williamson had died.

I don't know about the Walter's, but I sometimes imagine that Walter Horton was already known as 'Walter' when Marion Walter Jacobs turned up, and that Little Walter was so named to both associate and distinguish him from Horton, who became 'Big' Walter as a kind of reciprocal arrangement.
But I just made that story up. I shouldn't even mention it in jest. It's not true, just my imagination

Walter Horton though was also known as 'mumbles' and 'shakey'. I think both those were given him by others and I think he was not keen on either.

Peg leg Sam actually had a peg leg I believe. I don't know if he chose the name.

Mojo Buford; I don't know.

Snooky Prior. No idea

Big George Harmonica Smith I think did everything on his own account. I get the impression no-one told him what to do.

Who else? Jazz Gillum? Hammie Nixon? Sonny Terry? Who else you thing of?
278 posts
Feb 18, 2017
6:28 PM
Good Rockin' Charles
Phil Pennington
321 posts
Feb 18, 2017
9:36 PM
My favourite is "Papa Lightfoot" now that is cool moniker to have.No idea how it got it but any excuse to play some PAPA

35 posts
Feb 19, 2017
1:03 PM
Wow, indigo, that's some raw, brutal blues, love it!
2229 posts
Feb 19, 2017
4:35 PM
There's tons of em ...
Pinetop Perkins. Little Sonny. Howlin Wolf. Snooky Pryor. Lazy Lester.

I think it was maybe a right of passage thing? Or maybe it's just similar to what Rappers do today. Lil Jon, Lil Wayne, ... ??

I do believe Walter Horton mentions on a track that he had the name little Walter first ..... but gave it up so that Jacob's could have it. There are also a few tracks where Horton is referred to as "little walter" when it's time for him to take His solo.

Interesting thread.
4522 posts
Feb 19, 2017
6:07 PM
'Pinetop' is a pretty obvious nickname for pianists; there's been a couple.
Howlin' wolf I dunno who dubbed him that, probably himself I'd have guessed. That seems like a pretty obvious 'stage' name relating to his vocal gimmick.
Slim Harpo for James Moore; I have read something about that but it is eluding me ATM. Lazy Lester seems like the sort of thing someone else would call a person.
Dirty Dan
6 posts
Feb 26, 2017
8:03 AM
Why? because you have the chance to brand yourself, indefinitely.

I like the name Dirty Dan (because im in fact, not dirty -- ie. fat dude named Slim).
3 posts
Oct 02, 2018
6:26 AM
Although he is magic on the harp, Magic Dick is NOT the real name of the guy playing Harmonica for the J. Giles Band.

Growing up, Whammer Jammer was THE song, the standard by which all other harp players in the Rock genre were measured.


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