Re: Barrelhouse Chuck on Big Walter

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Hell, if your in the back room of a bar on 63rd St. you damn well better
feel comfortable using a knife and you damn well better hope your wife
doesn't find out!:)

From: PL500@xxxxxxx
Reply-To: PL500@xxxxxxx
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2003 11:40:11 EDT
To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Barrelhouse Chuck on Big Walter

Hey guys, 

Check this interview with (piano player) Barrelhouse Chuck where he mentions
Big Walter. Great story! The interview comes from Blueswax e-zine.


On Big Walter Horton:

BW: I have heard you mention what an enigma Big Walter Horton [1917 - 1981]

BC: "There were times when a lot of the old guys would all be at the same
club. None of them would even think of getting up to play when Walter Horton
was on stage! They wouldn't even look at Walter! Walter just had this stare
in his eyes.
I used to follow him around. He pulled a knife on me one time, but he was a
lot of fun really. My friend Little Joe Berson, who was an incredible
harmonica player and the reason I came to Chicago, was Walter's protege. I
was Sunnyland Slim's protege; he called me his son and I went everywhere
with him. I would walk into B.L.U.E.S on Halstead [Street] with Little Joe,
and Little Joe could sound just like Walter Horton. Walter for some reason
liked me and would purposely ignore Little Joe. Walter had a hundred-foot
cord for his harmonica. He would see me walk in. He would walk past everyone
in the room and come up to me and put his eyeball about half an inch from my
eyeball with the harmonica in his mouth and hit a screaming note! Usually he
hadn't shaved, and he sometimes would actually rub the side of his chin on
my chin and sing, "I don't feel good tonight!" Then he would sit down next
to me, cross his legs, and play "La Cucaracha," "I Been Around The World,"
"That Ain't It," or "Walter's Boogie."
In 1979 I was staying at the Tokyo Hotel [in Chicago on State St.] down the
hall from Little Joe's room. It was $24 a night.  Fannie Mae, Walter's wife,
had gotten into it with him and put a hurt on Walter. He came up to Little
Joe's room all scuffed up and needed a place to stay so Joe put him up. I
would let him borrow my rig [PA].
One time Water told us that he wanted us to know where we could find him if
we needed to. He said, "Now, don't ever tell Fannie Mae this!" He took us
down to 63rd Street to a little down-and-out bar that had a place in the
back that was his hang out.
When Walter Horton played - it was the most incredible feeling - like being
in an electric chair. He made the top of my head go numb! The feeling, his
phrasing, his tone and his presence was just undeniable. The look that he
had - that fire in his eyes - it was like "Don't mess with me, if you do,
I'll cut you!" He pulled his knife about two inches from my throat one night
just to let me know. I was messing with him just a little bit, and he, like
"Eeeeaahh!" I was like, "Whoa - OK, Walter!"
Whenever you would ask him about other harmonica players like Little Walter
[Jacobs] or Sonny Boy Williamson II, he would say, "I taught'em all!" and he

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