Big Walter Horton Photos

Big Walter Horton was one of the greatest harmonica stylists of all time, and a true master of Chicago blues. He possessed an unbelievable sound that stood out above all other players, that incorporated a chilling vibrato, combined with swooping phrases and a bell-like tonality. Though a fine singer, his role on many recordings was that of an accompanist. Many of the recordings that included his harmonica are true classics, such as Jimmy Rogers’ Walkin’ By Myself, Muddy Waters’ She’s All Right, Johnny Shines’ Evening Sun, and Tommy Brown’s Southern Woman. Growing up in Chicago, Bob was blessed to know Big Walter Horton and to see hundreds of his performances. Please enjoy this collection of rare photos of a true champion of blues harmonica.

Big Walter Horton Performing at Free Trade Hall in Manchester for the 3rd American Folk Blues Festival – 1964 (Photo by Brian Smith)

L-R: Mississippi Fred McDowell, John Lee Hooker, Doctor Ross, J.B. Lenoir, Big Walter Horton, Big Mama Thornton, Paris, 1965. Photo Jean-Pierre Tahmazian.

Willie Dixon, Lee Jackson, Clifton James, Big Walter Horton, Lafayette Leake.

Johnny Young and Big Walter Horton, at the Chicago The Blues Today session, 1965. Photo Ann Charters.

Chicago Blues All-Stars
Johnny Shines, Clifton James, Willie Dixon, Sunnyland Slim, Big Walter Horton (Photo by Hans Harzheim)

Joe Willie Wilkins and Big Walter Horton. Photo by Steve LaVere.

Big Walter Horton, Floyd Jones, Sunnyland Slim, University of Chicago Folk Festival, 1963. Photo by Ray Flerlage.

Big Walter Horton simultaneously playing two harmonicas, one with his mouth and the other with his nose. Photo Ray Flerlage.

Big Walter Horton playing harmonica with no hands! Photo Ray Flerlage.

Big Walter’s harmonicas and microphone for the Chicago/The Blues/Today sessions. That day in the studio Walter recorded with Johnny Young, Johnny Shines and a harmonica duet with Charlie Musselwhite. This photo taken by at the session by Ann Charters courtesy Illinois Slim. It would make sense that those are Big Walter’s shoes.

Willie Johnson and Big Walter Horton. Photo by Frank Scott.

Michael “Mudcat” Ward, Big Walter Horton, Ronnie Earl. Photo courtesy Michael “Mudcat” Ward.

Johnny Young & Big Walter Horton Arhoolie LP

Big Walter Horton and Johnny Young. Photo by Chris Strachwitz.

Big Walter Horton, Willie Dixon, Lafayette Leake. Photo James Harman.

Big Walter Horton by His South Side Chicago Apartment – January, 1970
This Photo Appeard on the LP Sleeve of Big Walter Horton’s King of Blues Harmonica Record on Delta Records Label (Photo by Lasse Lindedal, Courtesy of Jefferson / Scandinavian Blues Association – Thanks to Volvo Slim for Some of This Photo Information)

Big Walter Horton, 1970. Photo Lasse Lindedal.

Big Walter and unidentified woman. Photo Gerrit Robs.


Willie Dixon‘s Chicago Blues All-Stars. Left to right: Lafayette Leake, Willie Dixon, Buster Benton, Frank Swann, Big Walter Horton at Blues Factory, Chicago, 1971. Photo courtesy Sonny Burnett.


Big Walter Playing Guitar (Photo by Erik Linhahl, Courtesy of Jefferson Magazine)

Photo by Joel Slotnikoff

Big Walter Horton and John Nicholas, 1977. Courtesy the John Nicholas collection.

Sunnyland Slim, Big Walter Horton, Little Brother Montgomery at Little Brother’s apartment. Photo Ray Flerlage.

1960s Portrait of Big Walter Horton
(Note – Big Walter often smoked a cigarette while playing the harmonica)

Big Walter Horton, Willie Dixon, Clifton James, Sunnyland Slim, Johnny Shines

Dr. Ross, J.B. Lenoir, Big Walter Horton, Big Mama Thornton. Photo Christian Rose courtesy Stefan Wirz.

German Blues Promoter Horst Lippmann & Big Walter Horton by Walter’s South Side Chicago Apartment – 1960s

John Nicholas, Big Walter Horton, Tino Gross.

Floyd Jones, Big Walter Horton, Sunnyland Slim (Photo by Raeburn Flerlage)

Big Walter Horton, Floyd Jones, Sunnyland Slim, Big Joe Williams (Photo by Raeburn Flerlage)

Photo by Erik Lindahl.

Big Walter Horton
(Photo by Sylvia Pitcher)

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Big Walter Horton on Maxwell Street. Photo by Norman Joss.

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Big Walter Horton on Maxwell Street. Photo by Norman Joss.


Big Walter Horton on Maxwell Street. Photo by Norman Joss.

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Big Walter Horton on Maxwell Street. Photo by Norman Joss.

Coot Vinson, Big Walter Horton and Left Hand Arthur King on Maxwell Street. Photo Edward Yescalis.

Big Walter Horton on Maxwell Street. Photo by Ed Yescalis.


Big Walter Horton on Maxwell Street. That’s Jim Themelis on the far right. Photo by Ed Yescalis.


Big Walter Horton & Lynwood Slim on a Visit to See Pat Hare at the Minnesota State Prison (Photo by Pat Hare, Courtesy of Lynwood Slim)


Big Walter performing on Maxwell Street.


Big Walter Horton Obituary (Courtesy of Illinois Slim)


Big Walter Horton Publicity Photo – 1950s

Big Walter Horton and Little Pat Rushing.
Photo courtesy of Claudia Beatriz.

Photo Jim O’Neal


Big Walter Horton, John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker, Eddie Taylor, 1968 American Folk Blues Festival Tour, Circus Theatre, Scheveningen, The Hague. Photo by Bert van Lienden.

Sunnyland Slim, Clifton James, Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton, Willie Dixon in 1969!

Charlie Musselwhite and Big Walter Horton together at a session for Vanguard Records Living Chicago Blues Series.

Big Walter Horton & Carey Bell. This Photo was used on the back cover of Big Walter’s Alligator album. Photo by Peter Amft.

John Lee Hooker and Big Walter Horton!

Big Walter Horton and Wild Child Butler. Photo by Andre Hobus.

Eddie Taylor, John Lee Hooker, Big Walter Horton, London, 1968.


Big Walter Horton photo by Herve Gloaguen.

Big Walter Horton. Photo Jan Persson.

Big Walter Horton. Photo Jan Persson.

1965 American Folk Blues Festival. Left to right: Big Mama Thornton, Big Walter Horton, J.B. Lenoir, Doctor Ross, Fred Below, John Lee Hooker, Fred McDowell.

Big Walter Horton and Hound Dog Taylor.

Big Walter Horton and John Nicholas. Photo J. Rock.

Big Walter Horton, John Nicholas, Johnny Shines! 

This collage appears in the Sun Records Box and includes a prison mug shot, recording studio logo, and a pretty fantastic record face! Thanks Brian Smith.

Jimmy DeBerry and Big Walter Horton. Photo by Steve LaVere.

Photo by Mick Rowe.

Big Walter Horton recording at the Sutherland Lounge, Chicago, 1964. Photo by Hans Westman.

Ronnie Earl, Big Walter Horton, unidentified person.

Famous photo of Big Walter by D. Shigly.


Big Walter Horton, 1975 by Steve Salibo.

Big Walter Horton, 1975 by Steve Salibo.


Big Walter Horton, 1976. Photo Erik Lindahl courtesy Illinois Slim.


Paul Oscher and Big Walter Horton. Paul brought Walter and John Nicholas to New York City in 1976 to play at a club called Fugue. Photo by Willie Strandberg.


Big Walter Horton, 1976. Photo Pertti Nurmi.

Big Walter Horton, 1976. Photo Pertti Nurmi.

Photo by Ray Flerlage.

Bombay Carter, Big Walter Horton, Jimmy Rogers. Photo by Illinois Slim.

Big Walter Horton, Willie Nix, Patty Nix, J.T. Brown, Katie (last name unknown), Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers

Big Walter Horton sitting in with Muddy Waters Band. That’s Muddy in the background. Photo by D. Shigley.

Snooky Pryor, Big Walter Horton, Homesick James, 1979. Photo Amy Van Singel.

T-Bone Walker and Big Walter Horton

Jim Themelis, Big Walter Horton, Joe Berson (in back), Rich Molena, John Belushi outside of BLUES, Chicago. Belushi was in town filming The Blues Brothers movie. 

Big Walter Advertising from BLUES On Halsted, Chicago. 
Courtesy Jillina Arrigo Pope




Mel Bay musical instruction book!



Big Walter Horton and Carey Bell on the covef of Japan’s Blues & Soul Records Magazine. Original photo by Peter Amft. magazine cover courtesy of Deck.

Lee Jackson and Big Walter Horton. 
Photo by Jan Persson

Photo by Jan Persson

Big Walter Horton and Eddie Taylor. Photo Jan Persson.

Big Walter Horton and Carey Bell. Photo David Spencer. 

Big Walter and Eddie Taylor.

Jillina Arrigo-Pope kissing Big Walter Horton. Photo D. Shigley.

Big Walter Horton on Maxwell Street. Photo courtesy Paul Barry.

Mississippi Fred McDowell, J.B. Lenoir, Big Walter Horton. Photo by Brian Smith.

Photo by Lasse Lindedal.

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2 thoughts on “Big Walter Horton Photos

  1. Pingback: Big Walter Photographs – Leeds Harmonica

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