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Junior Wells

Blues Legend

Review by Gary Hill

This is a compilation album featuring music from Junior Wells. The singer and harmonica player is something of a legend, hence the title. Listening to this double-CD set will give you an idea of how he gained that status. The man really deserves the accolades he got over the years. You just don't get a lot better than this when it comes to the blues.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
                       
Cut That Out

Honking harmonica is on the menu as this gets going. The track has a killer blues groove with plenty of energy. It's designed to get people up and moving. This is such a fun little tune. The harmonica playing really puts it over the edge with style.

Eagle Rock
This is a killer jam that also features plenty of smoking harp playing. It has some tasty guitar work, too. This instrumental is packed full of class.
Hodo Man (Hoodoo Man)
I dig this slower blues number quite a bit. There is some tasty slide guitar, and the whole tune just screams "the blues."
Junior's Wail
Here we get another instrumental. This swings and sways with killer blues style. The harmonica and guitar paint some great pictures.
'Bout The Break Of Day (Early In The Morning)
Piano brings this in, but the other instruments join very quickly. This is mean and gritty blues that really rocks.
Lawdy! Lawdy!
This is a classic blues grind delivered with lots of style and charm. The harmonica brings plenty of magic, and the grinding arrangement marches onward.
Tomorrow Night
Another high-energy blues romp, this is good fun.
So All Alone
A slow, emotional blues, piano features prominently on the mix on this number. This is actually one of my favorite tunes here.
Two Head Woman (Two Headed Woman)
This has a bit more of a rock sound to it. This is another with plenty of energy and loaded with fun.
Lovey Dovey Lovey One
I love the guitar work on this thing. The driving beat works really well, too. This is another fun song.
I Could Cry

The guitar on this song is purely inspired. Don't ignore the bass work, though. It's particularly tasty. Of course, the powerhouse vocal delivery really sells this thing.

Cha Cha Cha In Blue (Cut My Toe Nail Instrumental)
A clanging bell sound is heard on this rocking number. We get some smoking hot blues harp playing, too. This is another strong romp.
Little By Little
Another rocking blues grind, this is all class. I really love the guitar solo on the song.
Come On In This House
I love the harmonica on this slower blues grind. The piano is a good touch on this, too.
You Don't Care
This energetic tune is a lot of fun.
Prison Bars All Around Me
A classy blues groove, this is another fun one.
Disc 2

                  

Galloping Horses A Lazy Mule with Earl Hooker

Bouncy and driving, this tune is so entertaining. The guitar takes it in some pretty cool directions here.

Calling All Blues with Earl Hooker
I love this slow grind. It features killer guitar work, some inspired piano and wailing harmonica. It's a real classic instrumental blues piece.
So Tired
A slow blues tune, this is another packed with style and charm.
Love Me
There is a lot of piano on this. The cut has a bit more of a rootsy, stripped down approach. It works really well.
Messin' With The Kid
This is another killer guitar blues number.
Universal Rock
More of a jazzy, high energy blues stomper, this instrumental really rocks like crazy.
I'm A Stranger
Slow blues with some cool guitar and piano work on the menu is the idea here.
The Things I'd Do For You
There is some jazz in the mix here, but overall this is  a fun blues romp that works really well. I can also make out some hints of things like Booker T. and the MGs.
You Sure Look Good To Me
Another slow blues song, the recording on this doesn't seem as good as that on some of the others here.
It Hurts Me Too
I love the piano on this, but the vocal delivery is the real shining star here. This is another where the recording doesn't seem up to quite the same level.
I Could Cry (1961 Version)
The organ is a focal point and feature of this number. It's another effective blues tune.
I Need Me A Car
There is a short skit at the beginning of this tune. This has more of a rock and roll vibe to it. It's a fun romp, but not one of the standouts.
I'll Get You Too
There is  bit of a jazzy rock and roll angle to this. The honking horn is a playful touch that lines it up with 50s rock.
Every Goodbye Ain't Gone
This is more of a pop rock tune. It's a fun cut, but it's not as meaty as some of the others here.
She's A Sweet One
Here we get a classic blues grind. This is a lot of fun.
When The Cat's Gone The Mice Play
There are a number of false starts at the beginning of this, but they eventually get through the track, a pretty standard blues romp.
Bonus Track
                  
What'd I Say (Live 1966)

The audience claps along to this stomper. I love the guitar sound on the song, and the whole thing really works so well. This includes a section that focuses on the drums and vocals. Overall, this is the kind of thing really designed to get the audience going, and it gets into some James Brown territory. It seems to fade down in the middle of the number. 

 
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