Shakey’s Blues

Walter “Shakey” Horton

“Shakey” Horton

Walter Horton performs his signature tune on the American Folk Blues Festival tour during the late 1960’s.

Walter was also known as “Mumbles”, and “Shakey” because of his head motion while playing the harmonica. He was active on the Chicago blues scene during the 1960s as blues music gained popularity with white audiences. From the early 1960s onward, he recorded and appeared frequently as a sideman with Eddie Taylor, Johnny Shines, Johnny Young, Sunnyland Slim, Willie Dixon and many others. He toured extensively throughout the 1960’s and 70’s, usually as a backing musician, performing at blues and folk music festivals in the U.S. and Europe, frequently with Willie Dixon’s Chicago Blues All-Stars. He became a mainstay on the festival circuit, and often played at the open-air market on Chicago’s Maxwell Street.

A quiet, unassuming and essentially shy man, Horton is remembered as one of the premier harmonica players in the history of blues. Willie Dixon once called Horton “the best harmonica player I ever heard.”

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