Song of the Day: Jerry Portnoy, “My Babe”

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The first time I saw Muddy Waters (in 1974), he had a relatively new harmonica player named Jerry Portnoy. When the band warmed up the crowd for about 15 minutes before Muddy took the stage, I heard Jerry do some amazing covers of Little Walter tunes. Muddy played for over an hour that night, and Jerry fit in perfectly, having obviously learned by listening to every harmonica player Muddy had ever worked with, picking up every nuance and riff from them. When Muddy passed away, Jerry played with his band for a while before going off on his own. Here he is with Josh Fulero and La Argentina Blues Band playing Little Walter’s “My Babe.”

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