Walter Mitchell

b. 19 March 1919, Pickens, Arkansas, USA, d. 10 January 1990, Toledo, Ohio, USA. Although his first years were spent in Louisiana, Mitchell was brought up in Detroit after his mother died around 1926,…
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Artist Biography

b. 19 March 1919, Pickens, Arkansas, USA, d. 10 January 1990, Toledo, Ohio, USA. Although his first years were spent in Louisiana, Mitchell was brought up in Detroit after his mother died around 1926, by which time he had already taken up the harmonica. Hoboing back in the south, he spent many years travelling through Louisiana, Arkansas and east Texas. Due to his diminutive stature, he earned the nickname Little Walter some time before Walter Jacobs appropriated it. Inducted into the army, he claims to have fought in both the European and Far Eastern campaigns before a foot injury brought about his discharge. Returning to Detroit, he put together the Boogie Blues Boys, which also featured his cousin, guitarist L.C. Green. In 1948, Mitchell recorded for Joe Von Battle with a band that included Robert Richard on second harmonica and pianist Boogie Woogie Red. Four years later, he accompanied Green on a session in Gallatin, Tennessee, for Dot Records. The pair remained together throughout the 50s, after which Mitchell worked with a number of Detroit musicians, including Baby Boy Warren, Eddie Burns and the Griswold brothers. Though sparsely recorded, Mitchell’s records remain sought-after collector’s items.