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Jagger, Richards To Pay For Burial Of Chicago Bluesman

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HOMEWOOD, Ill. (CBS) — Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones are footing the bill for the private burial of Chicago bluesman Hubert Sumlin.

Sumlin, the lead guitarist for the late Howlin’ Wolf, died this past Sunday at the age of 80 in a New Jersey Hospital.

In an online posting, the late musician’s partner, Tori Ann Mamary, said Jagger and Richards “insisted on picking up the full expenses for Hubert’s funeral. God bless the Rolling Stones.”

Richards played on Sumlin’s 2004 solo release “About Them Shoes.” In a statement, Richards expressed his sorrow for Sumlin’s death and said he “put up a long hard fight. To me, he was an uncle and a teacher, and all the guitar players must feel the same as myself.”

Jagger added, “Hubert was an incisive yet delicate blues player. He had a really distinctive and original tone and was a wonderful foil for Howlin’ Wolf’s growling vocal style. On a song like ‘Goin’ Down Slow’ he could produce heart-rending emotion, and on a piece like “Wang Dang Doodle” an almost playful femininity. He was an inspiration to us all.”

Sumlin was born in Greenwood, Miss., and grew up on Hughes, Ark. He came to Chicago from Memphis with Howlin’ Wolf in 1953, and played alongside the blues legend until his death in 1976.

After Howlin’ Wolf passed away, Sumlin went on playing with other members of his band as the Wolf Pack, and also made recordings sunder his own name.

Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Sumlin at No. 43 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists.

“During more than two decades playing alongside Howlin’ Wolf, Sumlin always seemed to have an almost telepathic connection to the legendary blues singer, augmenting Wolf’s ferocious cries with angular, slashing guitar lines and perfectly placed riffs on such immortal songs as ‘Wang Dang Doodle,’ ‘Back Door Man’ and ‘Killing Floor,’” Rolling Stone says.

It points out that Sumlin became so popular that Wolf’s rival, Muddy Waters, hired him away for a short time in 1956.

At Washington Memorial Gardens in south suburban Homewood, Sumlin will be laid to rest next to his longtime wife Bea, whom he often referenced on stage.

After the burial, a celebration of Sumlin’s life will begin at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Fitzgerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Berwyn.

Former Sumlin sideman and Muddy Waters guitarist Bob Margolin and harmonica player Bob Corritore will lead a jam of musicians who shared the stage with Sumlin over the years. Donations will be collected at the door to cover some expenses for the funeral party, and the rest will be donated to the Blues Foundation HART Fund, which provides assistance towards musicians’ hospital costs.

Sumlin’s last Chicago area appearance was on July 3, 2010 with the Nighthawks at FitzGerald’s.

His funeral will take place Monday in Totowa, N.J.

The Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

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