Hubert Sumlin Historical Marker
Hubert Sumlin performing at the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival
Backstory and Context
Born in Greenwood, Mississippi on a cotton plantation in 1931, Sumlin was exposed to the early styles of Blues music while working with his mother picking cotton. As time went on Sumlin began to play guitar in the local church; all the while his mother disapproved of his blues licks calling it “devils music”. Soon Sumlin moved to Chicago to pursue his music carrier and the rest is history.
Hubert Sumlin’s career really took off once he moved to Chicago. Starting out he played the small clubs on the South side of Chicago. It is here where he met blues legends Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolfe. Soon Sumlin began to get the attention of the major record companies and soon landed a record deal with Chess Records. His first album was titled “Kings of Chicago Blues” and consisted of three songs. The album was a citywide hit and slowly became a hit across the country and overseas in Europe. Sumlin was finally hitting the big time. He went from a cotton picker on a sharecroppers plantation to playing the blues with some of the greatest musicians in American history.
Sumlin passed away on December 5, 2011 at the age of 80. The New York Times declared that Sumlin's "slashing solos and innovative ideas galvanized the Blues of Howlin’ Wolf and inspired rock guitar players like Jimmy Page, Robbie Robertson, and Eric Clapton.” The Times obituary also discussed his influence on Jimi Hendrix. Numerous blues musicians have come from the Greenwood area, such as Robert Johnson and James Cotton.
Margolin, Bob. Biography. Hubert Sumlin Official Site. http://www.hubertsumlinblues.com/.
Stone, Rolling. 100 Greatest Guitarists. Rolling Stone Magazine. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-greatest-guitarists-20111123/hubert-sumlin-20111205.