Blues Calendar Blues - Junior Wells

I hate to drag out this old cliché, but, man, where is this year going? March already. Of course, as the year moves along, I’ve got some things I’m looking forward to, so let’s not delay too much.

And a new month means I turn the page on my blues calendar. This month’s artist is Junior Wells, a blues vocalist and harp player par excellence. Junior jammed with everyone: Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, the Stones, and Arrested Development. He even found time for a cameo in “Blues Brothers 2000.”

Legend has it that Junior was arrested for stealing a harmonica when he was 12 years old. When he was brought before the judge, the man was so impressed with Junior’s playing that he paid for the harp and let the boy go. When Junior died from lymphoma in 1998, his coffin contained harmonicas in every key and a pint of Tanqueray. Three of the Chicago’s best harpists – Billy Branch, Sugar Blue, and Harmonica Hinds – played an elegy together.

From the calendar notes:

After growing up in West Memphis, Ark., self-taught harmonica player Amos “Junior” Wells (1934-1998) moved to Chicago, where he helped forge a distinctive sound created in the great Southside blues clubs of the fifties and sixties. A snazzy dresser and incandescent player, Wells followed the example set by Little Walter and adhered a microphone to his instrument while he played, enabling him to blaze away alongside the electric guitars of many dazzling players, including Buddy Guy, one of his most frequent collaborators. Though his grandmother loved gospel music, when Wells sang the feeling was far closer to what is now rhythm and blues.

Today’s music comes from a 2000 compilation titled Calling All Blues. It features many of his better-known songs, including “Messin’ With the Kid” and “Little by Little.”

I Could Cry.mp3
Come on in This House.mp3
Messin’ With the Kid.mp3
It Hurts Me Too (When Things Go Wrong).mp3


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