Friday, October 16, 2009

The Greats Of The Blues: Junior Wells

A long, long time ago - B.C. as in "before children" - I use to be involved in the Blues music scene. This is another passion in my life. Over the years, I have interviewed the greats and written about their lives and their music. I always use to say that I grew up a middle class white kid, but I always wanted to be a poor black man from the South. Somehow living without dental insurance didn't appeal to me, but the lives and music of these relatively obscure artists did. In some ways, it was my passion for the music and writing about it that lead (in a very peripheral way) to the formation of Blues Revue, one of the best magazines around on the subject.

This is a clip of Junior Wells from 1966 singing his signature song "The Hoodoo Man". Junior gained notoriety as one of Muddy Waters' harmonica players in the 1950's and as a sidekick of Buddy Guy. In all likelihood, Buddy Guy is playing guitar in this video clip. The harmonica playing is impeccable; the singing sends a chill up and down the spine. Awesome!!

I have seen Junior Wells perform several times, and in the mid 1980's, I had a drink with him at Teresa's Lounge on Chicago's Southside. Back in those days, I was taking a risk venturing out of my comfy world on the Northside.

If you would like to read more about the life of Junior Wells you can go to this link at Wikipedia.


dave said...

Rod Piazza, Smokin' Joe Kubek, Coco Montoya, Rockin' Dopsie, Bobby "Blue" Bland

Guy, what did you play ?

Guy M. Lerner said...

I use to play harmonica and I played guitar for 10 years but was a very mechanical player

Matt Busigin said...

That is some great stuff!!!

My mum was gone most evenings playing out with her band. My Dad would put these old records on (Otis Span, J.B. Hutto & The Hawks, Junior Wells, ...), and jam to them on the piano. The first thing I learnt on the piano was how to play a 12 bar with the left, and improvise to it on the right.

They don't make them like that anymore. The only thing even close was Rory Gallagher, IMO.

Guy M. Lerner said...


Thanks! I decided to put this and maybe others on the site in the future after realizing there is a bunch of good stuff on YouTube