Little Walter Tribute with
Scott Dirks and Marion
2018 marks the ftieth anniversary of the death (at 37 years of age) of Marion Walter Jacobs, known to the world as Little Walter, arguably the most in infuential modern blues harmonica player who ever lived. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 in the “sideman” category, the only inductee ever included specifically for harmonica.
Although a decent singer who recorded scores of sides in his tragically short life, his biggest hit was the instrumental composition Juke, which was recognized by the Blues Hall of Fame in 1986 as a “classic of blues recording” and by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 as one of 500 “songs that shaped rock and roll.” His unerring sense of tone, melody, swing, and inventiveness changed the course of blues and will continue to have reverberations for a long time to come in the music world.
Scott Dirks is the co-author (with Tony Glover and Ward Gaines) of Blues With a Feel- ing: The Little Walter Story (Routledge, 2002). A former radio engineer, producer and disc jockey (WLUP, The Loop), Dirks is also a musician, record producer, writer, and researcher. He has produced albums for Alligator (Carey Bell and Billy Boy Arnold) and Delmark (Jim- my Burns, Lurrie Bell, Jimmie Lee Robinson, and the compilation, This is the Blues Harmonica). Dirks is a former member of the Chicago Blues All-Stars and currently plays with both the Woodlawn Four and his band, Chicago Bound.
Little Walter’s daughter, Marion Diaz-Re- acco, has established the Little Walter Foundation here in Chicago, where she now lives. The foundation’s purpose is to preserve the legacy and genius of Little Walter, and it aims to create programs for the creative arts, including music, animation and video.