Hubert Sumlin has left us at age 80. One more blues legend of several that we lost this past year, and one that no one will ever replace or duplicate.
No one played blues guitar licks like Hubert Sumlin. IMHO he was the most innovative blues guitarist to ever walk the planet. All one needs to do is listen to enough recycled, 12 bar, I-IV-V blues progression licks to know that Sumlin came from another dimension when he applied his fingers to the fretboard. No where can one hear the type of things that he pulls off on classic Howlin' Wolf cuts, such as "Smokestack Lightning", "Killing Floor", or "Spoonful" and how they give snap, crackle, and pop to Wolf's brand of blues. He'd ride Wolf's rhythm and then throw down total surprise riffs that slipped out of nowhere, or outer space. Like most blues fans, it is the Wolf albums that define Hubert Sumlin, but he did have a very long and distinguished solo career. I have a good number of his solo efforts, like Hubert Sumlin's Blues Party, Healing Feeling, Heart and Soul, and Wake Up Call. All of them have remarkable examples of Sumlin's brilliance, but they don't hang together as well as a couple that I'm listing here.