Thursday, 11 October 2012 | Art Schuna
I’m not really great in identifying guitarists just by listening to them but Hubert Sumlin’s tone and style are so distinctive, he’s one of a few I could pick out in a blind listening test. He was born in Greenwood MS in 1931 and past on just last year. Sumlin joined Howlin’ Wolf’s band in 1954 and was with him (except for a few brief lapses) until Wolf died in 1976. His guitar came to define Howlin’ Wolf’s band nearly as much as Wolf himself. Hubert Sumlin had a reputation for being more than a little wild in his youth. When I interviewed Henry Gray (Wolf’s piano player) he told me Wolf would fire Hubert from the band on Friday and hire him back on Monday. Fortunately, Hubert mellowed with age. In Howlin’ Wolf’s funeral program, Hubert Sumlin was referred to as Howlin’ Wolf’s son. I interviewed Hubert in 2005. He was an incredible story teller. He would often end a story by saying “Do you know what I’m saying?” I have to admit, there were times I said yes even if I didn’t know what he was saying because I just wanted to keep hearing those stories. Hubert Sumlin at this time was a gentle soul, but he maintained more than a little mischief. I hope you enjoy this interview. Click on the title above to go to the interview.