“… you gotta say (that) Little Walter invented the blues harmonica"
- No one had that sound before him. No one could make the thing cry like a baby and moan like a woman.
- No one could put pain into the harp and have it come out so pretty.
- No one understood that the harmonica — just as much as a trumpet, a trombone, or a saxophone — could have a voice that would drop you in your tracks, where all you could say was “Lord, have mercy.”
Buddy Guy, from “When I Left Home”
He was the first musician of any kind to purposely use electronic distortion as a musical technique, fundamentally altering the listener’s expectations of the harmonica. His virtuosity with the harp established the standard vocabulary for modern blues and blues rock harmonica players.
Little Walter scored 14 top ten hits between 1952 - 1958, and was the best blues artist produced by the post war Chicago blues movement. In 2008, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Most recently, in 2013, he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame at the first Annual Little Walter Festival in Alexandria, Louisiana.
To this day, to mention Little Walter's name brings a respect that is reserved for the world's geatest musicians.
Remembering Little Walter
Hi, My name is Marion Diaz Reacco. I'm that little girl in the picture with Little Walter. That was a long time ago and I have some memories of my father, especially when he used to put me up on a stool and make me listen to him practice his harmonica over and over again. I didn't get a lot of time to spend with him, and now that I am older I want to remember him in a different way.
The Little Walter Foundation is my way of getting to know my father. Through the Foundation, I'll be able to preserve my father's legacy as a major influence on the Chicago Blues. I hope to extend his techniques through music education using musicians who have embraced his style and use it to this day. With your help we can support other blues musicians to continue their creative efforts and extend the blues music genre itself.
There are so many stories that I don't know. So many of you have been touched by my father. Share in those stories, let me know how my father made an impact on your life! Your contribution to the Little Walter Foundation through your recollections, your photos, your stories and your financial support will truly be a gift to me, my Dad and Chicago Blues fans everywhere!
Love, Marion Diaz Reacco
Little Walter around the World
Chicago Blues is alive all over the world! Nacomi Tanaka and her band reached out to us with a Little Walter Tribute all the way from Kobe, Japan. (Very cool shirts, Nacomi) Check out Crazy Mixed Up World and Juke below, as well as their other Little Walter tunes on You Tube. Antonio Augusto Bittencourt from Brazil posted one on our Facebook page!
We are looking at ideas on how to interact with fans all over the world, so send us your ideas! A special thanks to Nacomi, her band members, Yasuo Ochiai, Hideki Takano, Akinori Fujinami, Sweet Harp Kimura (on the harp of course!) and also to Antonio!