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Big Walter Horton

Big Walter “Shakey” Horton - Blues harmonica, vocalist (1918 - 1981)

Walter Horton, also known as Big Walter or Shakey Horton,is counted among the best blues harp players. He is also considered by many to have had the best tone of any Chicago harp player.

Horton was born in Horn Lake, Mississippi in 1918, got his first harmonica from his father when he five, and won a local talent contest with it. Shortly thereafter his mother moved to Memphis, then a hotbed of blues, and according to blues researcher Samuel Charters, Horton was playing with the Memphis Jug Band by the time he was nine or ten. He also may have recorded with them in 1927 as he himself claimed- two of their sides issued that year list “Shakey Walter” as the harp player.

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