Big Walter Horton

Big Walter Horton, sometimes known as Shakey Walter Horton, is one of the most influential blues harmonica players of all time, and a particular pioneer in the field of amplified harmonica. He isn't as widely known as his fellow Chicago blues pioneers Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson II, due mostly to the fact that, as a rather shy, quiet individual, he never had much taste for leading his own bands or recording sessions. But his style was utterly distinctive, marked by an enormous, horn-like tone, virtuosic single-note lines, fluid phrasing, and an expansive sense of space. Horton's amplified harp work graced sides by Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, Otis Rush, Johnny Shines, Tampa Red, and many others; he was frequently cited as an inspiration by younger players, and most accounts of his life mention a testimonial from legendary bassist/songwriter Willie Dixon, who once called Horton "the best harmonica player I ever heard."