Recording history: Early-mid-1950’s for Sultan/Aladdin/Imperial/ Savoy, 1969 for Vault
Also recorded with: Champion Jack Dupree
Important/historic recordings: “Wine, Women & Whiskey”, “When The Saints Go Marching In”, “Mean Old Train”, “Jump The Boogie”, “Blue Lights”
Random fact: Many of today’s top blues harp players mention Papa Lightfoot on their list of favorite harp players, yet he only recorded a handful of singles and one LP, which is a testament to his ability (and unique approach) on the harp.
About: Born Alexander Lightfoot in Natchez, Mississippi, very little is known about this extraordinarily talented harp blower. Worked in the Natchez, MS and New Orleans, LA areas performing music & musical impersonations. After his initial recordings on the Sultan & Alladin labels, Lightfoot traveled on various Rhythm & Blues touring shows, even some including Rice Miller (Sonny Boy Wlliamson #2). Also toured with the Horace Heidt Orchestra after winning their talent contest in the mid-1950’s.
His recording session for the Imperial label (resulting in the songs “Wine, Women & Whiskey“, “Jump The Boogie“, “Mean Old Train” and “When the Saints Go Marching In“) from the early 1950’s still stands as one of the most referred-to sessions for “totally cool & influential” harp playing amongst blues harp players and aficionados worldwide. In 1970, Papa Lightfoot performed at the Ann Arbor Blues Festival. Unfortunately before he had a chance to have a bigger comeback on the blues circuit, he died in November 1971.
Recommended Recordings in-print:
I’ve found the best selection of blues harmonica CDs to be available at: