Junior Wells Blues Hit Big Town Delmark DD-640

CD $11.99 - LP $19.99

With Muddy Waters, Elmore James and Otis Spann

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 "In 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.

Five stars from Downbeat.

Part of our United Series.

Song List:
1. Hoodoo Man
2. Cut That Out
3. Junior's Wail
4. Tomorrow Night
5. Ways Like An Angel
6. Eagle Rock
7. Please Throw This Poor Dog A Bone
8. Blues Hit Big Town
9. Lord Lord
10. 'Bout The Break Of Day
11. So All Alone
12. Can't Find My Baby
13. Please Throw This Poor Dog A Bone (Alternate)
14. Junior's Wail (Alternate)
15. Eagle Rock (Alternate)
16. Lord Lord (Alternate)
17. Blues Hit Big Town (Alternate)

Reaction Report:

"The recent deaths of Junior Wells, Jimmy Rogers, Luther Allison, and Johnny Copeland confirm that we are losing that generation of musicians who learned directly from the fathers of electric blues. But the spark that passed between those pioneers and their inheritors is preserved on reissues like Junior Wells' Blues Hit Big Town.

"It's a sound rarely heard - the drop-dead clarity of Blues Hit Big Town, a landmark album that compiles Wells' first two sessions as a leader, in 1953 and '54. The set is a torch-passing, with Muddy Waters, dirty slide king Elmore James and piano genius Otis Spann joining the then-nineteen-year-old harmonica ace in the studio. Wells would eventually be influenced by James Brown to forge a more rhythmically dynamic approach, but here you can hear him blowing the Delta dust out of his instrument as the normally explosive James and Waters restrict themselves to fills and chunky support. They ride the barbecue-fed straight-four heartbeat of the rhythm section, which is headed by guitarist Louis Myers and his bassist brother Dave and joined by drummers Fred Below or Odie Payne.

"Yet it's Wells who brings hold-your-breath intensity to this disc. His reedy voice rings with twists like swallowed syllables, howls, and stretched vowels that turn numbers like "Please Throw This Dog a Bone" into paradigms of want and pain. His harmonica doesn't yet match his vocal performance, but the playing is nakedly soulful, emulating his tightly-pitched harp in its best moments.

"That every breath on this mono album is so tangibly expressive speaks to the superiority of both Chicago's old Univeral Recording Studios and engineer Bill Putman. 'The studio was used a lot by Mercury, Chess, United, and Capitol,' says Bob Koester. 'It was Duke Ellington's favorite.'

-Ted Drozdowski, Musician Magazine - December, 1998


"The Late Junior Wells, the most influential harmonica player to come out of the postwar Chicago blues era, boasted a style equal parts Delta wails, ghetto shouts, honking sax, and boozy trash talk. His first (1953 - 1954) solo recordings are compiled on Blues Hit Big Town, JW spits, growls, and moans like a Tasmanian devil with no house training. Songs including 'Lord Lord' and 'Hoodoo Man' have influenced blues rockers from the Rolling Stones to J. Geils band to Arrested Development. Blues Hit Big Town is invaluable - and as funky as it wanna be."

-Tom Terrell, Vibe Magazine - November, 1998

Albums featuring Junior Wells...


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