This is part of Chess Records' 50 Anniversary series.
Personnel: Little Walter (vocals, harmonica); Muddy Waters (guitar, slide guitar); Dave Myers , Fred Robinson , Jimmie Lee Robinson, Jimmy Rogers , Leonard Caston, Louis Myers, Luther Tucker, Robert Lockwood, Jr. (guitar); Otis Spann (piano); Fred Below, Billy Stepney, George Hunter (drums).
Liner Note Author: Billy Altman.
Recording information: Chicago, IL (05/12/1952-12/??/1960).
Photographers: Ray Flerlage; Mary Katherine Aldin.
Few would dispute that this collection is the Holy Grail of blues harmonica. Like the other entries in Chess Records' HIS BEST series, the Little Walter compilation is beautifully selected, sequenced, remastered, and packaged. At 20 tracks, HIS BEST gives a satisfying, economical summary of Walter's genius, and defends his title as the king of blues harp men. As a member of Muddy Waters's band, and on his own, Walter was one of the architects of the original Chicago sound. His propulsive chording, high-leaning notes, inventive use of amplification (he used a close-up hand-held microphone and effects like distortion and echo), and endless stream of ideas expanded the possibilities of the harmonica.
With the help of such Chicago heavy-hitters as pianist Otis Spann, bassist Willie Dixon, and drummer Fred Below, Walter's own group displayed ferocious chemistry and instrumental prowess. Naturally, Walter's vocals and exceptional harp are at the fore here. Whether on signature tunes ("Juke"), slow burners ("Mean Old World"), or classic rockers ("Boom, Boom Out Goes the Light"), this is old-school electric blues at its absolute finest. In addition to its status as a textbook for harmonica players, HIS BEST is a ground-floor necessity for any blues library.