Junior Wells - Blues Hit Big Town
  • 01 Hoodoo Man Featuring Elmore James
  • 02 Cut That Out
  • 03 Junior's Wail
  • 04 Tomorrow Night
  • 05 Ways Like An Angel
  • 06 Eagle Rock
  • 07 Please Throw This Poor Dog A Bone
  • 08 Blues Hit Big Town
  • 09 Lord, Lord Featuring Willie Dixon
  • 10 'Bout The Break Of Day
  • 11 So All Alone
  • 12 Can't Find My Baby
  • 13 Please Throw This Poor Dog Bone
  • 14 Junior's Wail [Alternate Take]
  • 15 Eagle Rock [Alternate Take]
  • 16 Lord, Lord (alternate take)
  • 17 Blues Hit Big Town (alt take)
  • 01 Hoodoo Man Featuring Elmore James
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:08) [7.18 MB]
  • 02 Cut That Out
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (02:54) [6.64 MB]
  • 03 Junior's Wail
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (02:56) [6.71 MB]
  • 04 Tomorrow Night
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (02:29) [5.7 MB]
  • 05 Ways Like An Angel
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:18) [7.57 MB]
  • 06 Eagle Rock
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (02:24) [5.5 MB]
  • 07 Please Throw This Poor Dog A Bone
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (02:32) [5.78 MB]
  • 08 Blues Hit Big Town
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (02:59) [6.83 MB]
  • 09 Lord, Lord Featuring Willie Dixon
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (02:43) [6.21 MB]
  • 10 'Bout The Break Of Day
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:18) [7.55 MB]
  • 11 So All Alone
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:23) [7.73 MB]
  • 12 Can't Find My Baby
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:16) [7.49 MB]
  • 13 Please Throw This Poor Dog Bone
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (02:29) [5.71 MB]
  • 14 Junior's Wail [Alternate Take]
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:03) [6.97 MB]
  • 15 Eagle Rock [Alternate Take]
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (02:27) [5.61 MB]
  • 16 Lord, Lord (alternate take)
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (02:43) [6.23 MB]
  • 17 Blues Hit Big Town (alt take)
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (02:37) [6 MB]
McPherson 12 string acoustic guitar
Biography
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These historic sessions also feature Louis and Dave Myers, Willie Dixon, Johnnie Jones, Fred Below and Odie Payne Jr. Recorded by United Records in '53 & '54 at Universal Studio in Chicago, eight sides were issued on the subsidiary States label. Delmark's original LP contained twelve performances and now 5 more are added for the CD! Junior's debut recordings as leader include his first recording of Hoodoo Man Blues. He was still a teenager at the time and had replaced Little Walter in the Muddy Waters band. Down Beat's Pete Welding wrote about their power, directness, unerring taste and utter consistency of mood, these may well be the most perfectly distilled examples of Wells' music ever recorded, taking their place alongside of those of Waters, Walter, Wolf and other masters of the period. Five stars. Blues Hit Big Town captures genius emerging from one of the greatest blues personalities and harmonica players of all time. Part of our United series.

1. Hoodoo Man Blues
2. Cut That Out
3. Junior's Wail
4. Tomorrow Night
5. Ways Like An Angel
6. Eagle Rock (alternate)
7. Blues Hit Big Town
8. Lord Lord
9. 'Bout The Break Of Day
10. Please Throw This Poor Dog A Bone
11. So All Alone
12. Blues Hit Big Town (alternate)

Junior Wells, vocals, harmonica
Elmore James, guitar (1-6)
Louis Myers, guitar
Johnnie Jones, piano (1-6)
Dave Myers, bass guitar
Fred Below, drums (1-6)
Muddy Waters, guitar(7-12)
Louis Myers, guitar
Otis Spann, piano (7-12)
Willie Dixon, bass
Odie Payne, Jr., drums (7-12)

Recorded June 8, 1953 (1-6) and April 15, 1954 (7-12) (except 10, date unknown, prob. 1954)

Album Production and Compilation: Robert G. Koester and Steve Wagner
Supervision: Leonard Allen and Willie Dixon
Recording Bill Putnam, Universal Recording Studios
Photography: Ray Flerlage
Design: Kate Hoddinott

"He hadn't played any taverns at that time...just around the house and at par- ties. One night we were at a party near 22nd and Prairie. Arthur 'Big Boy' Spires was there and Louis was playing with him. One of the girls was telling me about this kid on the block who played harmonica. She sent a friend to get him. "He was a rough-looking, hard-time guy, but he seemed very interested in all the music and really glad to meet us and asked if he could play a tune with us. "'OK, if you can play P "He borrowed a mike to get the sound up with the guitars and he really did a fine job. I had heard Shakey Waiter (Big Waiter Horton), Harmonica Willie, Sonny Boy Williamson, and a lot of others, but his playing stirred up the whole neighborhood. Everybody came to the party. So many came from the C & T Lounge down the street that the owner sent her bartender up to the party to talk to us. They hired us- our first job in a tavern. We called our- selves the Deuces." Dave Myers and his brother Louis thus recall their first meeting with harmonicist Junior Wells in 1950, and what was Junior's first steady job in music. The Deuces played the C & T (at 22nd and Prairie) for four or Ave months and then went on to several other jobs, eventually adding a drummer, changing the name to the Four Aces, and eventually, of course, to just the Aces . Junior Wells was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on December 9, 1934. His parents farmed for a time near Marion, Arkansas, but Junior's earliest musical experiences involved the bluesmen of Memphis: Howl- in' Wolf, B.B. King, and Little Buddy Doyle. Junior Parker lived across the street and gave Junior his first harmonica lessons before Junior came to Chicago with his mother at the age of twelve. Dave Myers continues: "Later, we were playing at the Hollywood Rendezvous (later Ricky's Show Lounge) at 38th and Indiana. Seven nights a week. One night every- body but me came in late. Junior didn't show up at all. Fred Below was with us by that time and he came in and set up his drums without saying much. By the time Louis was there, Little Waiter had come in. He had left town with Muddy Waters a few days before and I wondered what he was doing back so soon. Then I found out that he and Muddy had broken up and that Muddy had hired Junior. Waiter helped us out by playing with us that night and after work the boys kicked up the money a little and Waiter was working with us after that." The Shaw booking agency wanted to book Waiter on the road to capitalize on the success of his hit record, "Juke," made and released before Waiter had left Mud- dy. The Aces thus became the Jukes and were fronted by Waiter. The parting of Junior and the Aces must have been amicable, because the following year, when Junior got the opportunity to make his first records for Leonard Alien's States label, on June 8, 1953, he was ac- companied by the Aces, augmented by Johnnie Jones on piano and Elmore James for added flavor. The first coupling ("Eagle Rock" and "Cut That Out") sold well enough that another was issued: "Junior's Wail" and the classic first version of "Hoodoo Man Blues." A second session for States also featured the Aces, filled out by Otis Spann, with Muddy Waters for flavor this time. This was on April 15, 1954, and Junior recalls that he was AWOL from the Army when he made it. Willie Dixon can be heard con- ducting the sessions and playing string bass. The audition tape of "Throw This Poor Dog A Bone" was, according to Louis Myers, made at the United Records office at some time between Junior's two sessions for that firm. Louis says he was surprised it was not recorded for release. Junior was discharged from the army in 1955 but was not to record again until the Chief-Formal-USA series of the late 50's and early 60's. By 1965, when Delmark first recorded him, he had had several solid (if primarily local) hits for those labels and was well-established at Theresa's Lounge at 48th & Indiana, backed by Bud- dy Guy's band. HOODOO MAN BLUES (DS-612) was one of the first albums of modern Chicago blues that wasn't-just a string of "greatest hits," but was recorded as a document of what one particular tavern band sounded like. Most other blues Man' album. records by that time were made by studio groups with many external pressures on repertoire, sound, and performance. We couldn't have picked a better artist to launch our Chicago series, for Junior Wells is more than a vocalist, an instrumentalist, sometimes composer and bandleader--he is his own best producer, as his subsequent albums (SOUTHSIDE BLUES JAM, DS- 628; and ON TAP, DS-635) have proven. HOODOO MAN became a cult record and several tracks have been imitated by successful rock bands such as the Grateful Dead and the Dirty Blues Band. Junior's dual contracts with local blues labels for 45's which kept his name alive in the black community and with Vanguard, Delmark, Mercury and Atlantic for the LP and blues-rock market and a mutually re- warding booking relationship with Dick Waterman's Avalon Productions, 8 Locke St., Cambridge Mass. 02140, have kept Junior busy with tours of literally every continent, many colleges, rock ballrooms (remember them?), clubs, and concert halls. Junior can still be heard at Theresa's when he's in town, where music is no longer just a weekend policy, always with one of the best bands in Chicago. Buddy Guy works with Junior when they tour, and Junior doubles into Buddy's Checkerboard Lounge on 43rd Street weekends, plays occasionally North Side jobs at Ratso's and other expensive bistros and auditoriums. But it all started with the street-wise kid who knew exactly who should accompany him on these first sessions. The ghetto- wild sound of his first sides already mellowed noticeably less than a year later; "the baby" had grown up fast. Willie Dixon, Leonard Alien and Bill Putnam captured genius emerging and Delmark is proud to release the very first "Hoodoo --BOB KOESTER

United Records was the first successful black- owned record company. Operated by Leonard Allen, tailor, retired policeman, and obviously one of exceptionally wide taste in music, the two labels (United and States) issued some of the best performances in the jazz, blues, gospel, R&B idioms. Equally import- ant are the unissued performances--United issued only a third of their masters because today's LP audience did not then exist. Del- mark is proud to release this important body of masters recorded by studios which pioneered hi-fi recording in the 50h.


"Please Throw This Poor Dog A Bone" and "Can't Find My Baby" were recorded as an audition tape sometime between the two sessions, probably in early '54, and feature Junior with Louis Myers.


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