Blues  •  Electric Blues

Electric Harmonica Blues

It's unclear who was the first bluesman to blow his harp into a cheap microphone plugged into an equally cheap public address system and distort it beyond belief, but the artist who made the genre known as Electric Harmonica Blues come to life was none other than Little Walter Jacobs. Its greatest single innovator, greatest-selling artist, and the wellspring of the entire genre, Jacobs' tone became the sound to emulate, and his legacy has persisted in defining the sound and style of the genre decades after his death. Not unlike Charlie Parker's shadow in modern jazz and Hank Williams, Sr.'s in country, Walter's influence has so saturated the genre that it has only been in the last decade or so that new players have turned to the other geniuses of the form (most notably Walter Horton) for inspiration, finding new and innovative ways to express themselves on this humble instrument.