The guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan said was the most original one

Stevie Ray Vaughan

The guitarist and singer Stevie Ray Vaughan was one of the artists who helped to revive the Blues in the 80s, putting that kind of music and many forgotten legendary artists on the spotlight again. Vaughan’s career was sadly cut short when he died in a tragic helicopter crash in 1990 at the age of 35, but during his time in the music business he talked about many of his heroes.

Back in the 80s he even revealed which was the guitarist that he said it was the most original one that he knew.

The guitarist that Stevie Ray Vaughan said was the most original one he knew

Stevie Ray Vaughan released his debut album in 1983, that made him become one of the hottest acts in the music business at that time, mixing Blues with Rock and Roll.

In almost all the interviews he gave, the musician always mentioned Blues musicians who came before and were a huge inspiration to him. In an interview back in 1985, when he already had three albums out, (Made available by SRV on MV), Stevie named the guitar player that in his opinion was the most original one he knew.

“Hubert Sumlin was the driving force behind Howlin’ Wolf. (He) never, ever had his name on a Howlin’ Wolf record. He wrote a lot of those songs and nobody ever mentioned his name. Hubert Sumlin actually wrote ‘Killing Floor’. Hubert Sumlin is my twin brother.”

“(He) is like my flip-side twin brother. We wear the exact same hat size, clothes size. He calls me his little brother. Actually I call him my little brother. Hubert’s is probably the most original guitar player I know. He is wonderful,” Stevie Ray Vaughan said.

As SRV said, Hubert  Sumlin, who was born in Greenwood, Mississippi in 1931, was best known for his work with the also legendary Bluesman Howlin’ Wolf. He was born two decades after Wolf and had the opportunity to meet the musician for the first time when he still was a kid.

The funny story of the first meeting between Howlin’ Wolf and Hubert Sumlin told by Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray recalled that funny story of the first meeting between Wolf and Sumlin in an interview made back in the 80s and featured on the 2011 documentary “Hubert Sumlin – Living the Blues” (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage).

“He was probably the heaviest most original guitar player I ever heard in my life and that’s the truth. I will never forget, he told me how he met Howlin’ Wolf in the first place. He had been sneaking in this club. Crawling between people’s legs all night long.”

“He kept been thrown out. Howlin’ Wolf put him on the stage in the chair and said ‘Don’t you leave, boy’. He ended up finishing the night out and he took Hubert home. Then Hubert was sit in the car while he (Howlin’) went to talk to his mother. Hubert was like 12 years-old then.”

SRV continued:

“The best thing that he said though, was when he brought Hubert’s mother back out to the car to get him. He said ‘Don’t punish him. He just wants to hear the music’. I’ve got a guitar that I’m giving him real soon. It’s a Rickenbacker prototype stereo. (It’s) like what he used to play in the first place. I ain’t never seen a grown man jump up and down, have so much fun when he plays on his guitar. I love Hubert to death,” Stevie Ray Vaughan said.

It was only more than a decade later, in 1954, that Sumlin was invited by Wolf to join his band as a second guitar player. One year later, the other guitar player Jody Willians decided to leave the group and Sumlin became the main guitarist.

In 1962, he helped Wolf to make his most famous album, the self-titled record. Released in 1962, it had many classic songs like “Spoonful”, “The Red Rooster”, “Wang Dang Doodle” and “Back Door Man”. It was a crucial album to inspire many Rock and Roll artists that came later. Including Cream and Eric Clapton, who successfully covered “Spoonful”.

Hubert Sumlin had something that SRV said he saw only in other few guitarists

In 1989, Stevie Ray Vaughan had the opportunity to make a co-headlining tour alongside his friend and hero Jeff Beck. “The Fire Meets the Fury Tour” made them be together on the road for almost a month. To promote the shows they gave many interviews together and One was published by Guitar Player magazine in 1990.

When praising Beck in the conversation, SRV used Sumlin as an example. The musician said that one of the thing that blew his mind about Beck was that he had the ability to take his roots and take it to another different level. To Stevie, it was something that he only saw in other players like Hubert Sumlin, Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy.

Sumlin died in 2011 at the age of 80, victim of a heart failure.

Rafael Polcaro: I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG