Junior Junior Wells
Dec. 9, 1934 - Jan. 15, 1998

If the harmonica is to blues what the saxaphone is to jazz, then Junior Wells is a post-bebop legend and one of the better players of the blues. He was along with James Cotton the last of a generation that grew out of Chicago in the late 40's and early 50's, when the blues scene featured such notables as John Lee Williamson and Rice Miller, Little Walter and Walter Horton. Junior was 19 years old when he replaced Little Walter in Muddy Waters' band in 1952. Wells was already a veteran at that point, having begun performing at age 14 with Tampa Red, Big Maceo and Johnnie Jones in Southside Chicago clubs. Prior to his debut in the Waters band, he was a member of the famous Four Aces, an innovative, hard driving blues ensemble consisting of Louis and Dave Myers and former jazz drummer Fred Below. In his late teens and early 20's , he recorded for States Records, backed by such names as Elmore James, Otis Spann, Willie Dixon, Johnnie Jones and Muddy Waters. Wells worked in the Waters band well into the late 50's before going out on his own and developing his own sound. For many years he was the featured act at the Southside basement blues club, Theresa's where many of the blues greats came to see Wells or sit in. In 1965 he recorded his first album, which became a landmark recording, Hoodoo Man Blues, on Delmark Records. This became the first album ever by a Chicago blues artist and one of the first records to capture the raw tavern blues sound of the period. The success of the Butterfield Blues Band album the same year resulted in Wells expansion to performing for white audiences in colleges, music halls and on tour. In 1970 he teamed with Buddy Guy, eventually opening for the Rolling Stones and recording what has become one of the classic live albums of all time, Drinkin' TNT Smokin Dynamite at the Montreal Jazz Festival. It was one of the ten best albums of 1974. He has recorded numerous albums in his long career and has been called "Godfather of the Blues" for his hard edged performances with a twist of James Brown. In 1990 he recorded Harp Attack, a tour de force ensemble concept for Alligator, which also featured James Cotton, Carey Bell and Billy Branch. He has since recorded two albums for Telarc, the newest, Better Off With The Blues, released this year, features Bonnie Raitt and Carlos Santana. Junior Wells is truly one of the legends of Chicago blues.

"My Home's In The Delta"

Buddy Guy & Junior Wells
Alone & Acoustic

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