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Junior Wells’ Chicago Blues Band: Hoodoo Man Blues

Nic Jones By

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Being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame could, in the overall scheme of things, mean everything or nothing, considering that Hoodoo Man Blues is as powerful an example of the Chicago Blues as has ever been captured on record.

Singer/harmonicist Junior Wells was one of those surprisingly rare individuals who knew how to stir an audience without showboating, and if one had been present on these recording sessions from September 22 and 23, 1965, chances are it would have pinned every level going, with the frenzy whipped up by this music. It should comes as no shock that Wells was on spontaneously combustible form, as he was rarely off it, but what surprises still is the generous helping of funk provided by guitarist Buddy Guy, drummer Billy Warren and bassist Jack Myers (complete with his set of three metal and one nylon bass strings).

The alternate version of "In the Wee Wee Hours" is a manifesto in no uncertain terms, its sheer slinkiness demonstrating that simple isn't necessarily easy. The reverb on Guy's guitar lends the title track a radically different patina, and over the course of approximately two minutes, this bad little quartet nails a groove in a way few others could manage. There are shades of Little Walter in Wells' intro to "Early In The Morning," but the tale of what might be called lascivious resignation also finds him unleashing a paint-stripping solo.

By comparison, the up-tempo "Yonder Wall" is slightly uptown, but still, these guys just don't need a fuse, which only goes to show that their like probably won't be with us again, at least not physically. They'll always be in the ether though, and thanks in no small part to this potent, potent stuff.

Track Listing: Snatch It Back and Hold It; Ships on the Ocean; Good Morning Schoolgirl; Hound Dog; In The Wee Wee Hours; Hey Lawdy Mama; Hoodoo Man Blues; Early In The Morning; We're Ready; You Don't Love Me, Baby; Chitlins Con Carne; Yonder Wall; Studio Chatter 1; I Ain't Stranded; Studio Chatter 2; In The Wee Wee Hours, alt; Studio Chatter 3; Hoodoo Man Blues, alt; Studio Chatter 4; Chitlins Con Carne, alt; Studio Chatter 5; Yonder Wall, alt take 7; Studio Chatter 6; Yonder Wall, alt. take 11; Studio Chatter 7; Yonder Wall, alt. take 13.

Personnel: Junior Wells: harmonica, vocals; Buddy Guy: guitar; Jack Myers: bass; Billy Warren: drums.

Title: Hoodoo Man Blues | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Delmark Records


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