Junior Wells

Junior Wells (December 9, 1932 ??? January 15, 1998), born Amos Wells Blakemore Jr., was a blues vocalist and harmonica player based in Chicago, who was famous for playing with Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, The Rolling Stones and Van Morrison.

Life and career

He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and raised in Arkansas. Initially influenced by fellow Memphian Junior Parker, and both Sonny Boy Williamsons, Wells moved to Chicago in 1948 and began sitting in with local musicians at house parties and taverns. He began performing with The Aces (guitarist brothers Dave and Louis Myers and drummer Fred Below) and developed a more modern amplified harmonica style influenced by Little Walter. He made his first recordings at age 19, when he replaced Little Walter in Muddy Waters' band and appeared on one of Waters' sessions for Chess Records in 1952. His first recordings as a band leader were made in the following year for States Records; in the later 1950s and early 1960s he also recorded singles for other local Chicago record labels. He worked with Buddy Guy in the 1960s and recorded his first album, Hoodoo Man Blues for Delmark Records. His most memorable songs are "Messin' With The Kid" and "Little by Little," which were written and composed by Chicago blues record producer Mel London. His best-known album is 1965's Hoodoo Man Blues on Delmark Records, which featured Buddy Guy on guitar.

Wells and Guy supported the Rolling Stones on numerous occasions in the 1970s. Although his albums South Side Blues Jam (1971) and On Tap (1975) proved he had not lost his aptitude for Chicago band blues, his 1980s and 1990s discs were inconsistent. However, 1996's Come On in This House was an intriguing set of classic blues songs with a rotating cast of slide guitarists, among them Alvin Youngblood Hart, Corey Harris and Sonny Landreth.

Wells made an appearance in the 1998 movie, Blues Brothers 2000, the sequel to The Blues Brothers. The film was released less than a month after his death. He had continued performing until he was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 1997. That fall, he suffered a heart attack while undergoing treatment, sending him into a coma.

Wells was interred in the Oak Woods Cemetery, Chicago after succumbing to lymphoma on January 15, 1998.

Album discography

Hoodoo Man Blues ?? (1965)
It's My Life, Baby! ?? (1966)
Chicago/The Blues/Today! vol. 1 ?? (1966)
On Tap (1974)
You're Tuff Enough (1968)
Coming at You ?? (1968)
Live at the Golden Bear (1969)
Southside Blues Jam ?? (1969)
Buddy and the Juniors ?? (1970)
In My Younger Days (1972)
Buddy Guy & Junior Wells Play the Blues ?? (1972)
Live At Montreux ?? (1977)
Blues Hit Big Town (1977)
Pleading the Blues ?? (1979)
Got To Use Your Head (1979)
Drinkin' TNT 'n' Smokin' Dynamite ?? (1982)
The Original Blues Brothers (1983)
Messin??? With The Kid, Vol 1 (1986)
Universal Rock (1986)
Chiefly Wells (1986)
Harp Attack! (1990)
1957-1966 (1991)
Alone & Acoustic ?? (1991)
Undisputed Godfather of the Blues (1993)
Better Off with the Blues ?? (1993)
Messin??? With The Kid 1957-63 (1995)
Everybody's Getting' Some (1995)
Come on in This House (1997)
Live at Buddy Guy's Legends (1997)
Keep On Steppin???: The Best Of?? (1998)
Best Of The Vanguard Years (1998)
Masters (1998)
Buddy Guy & Junior Wells ?? (1998)
Last Time Around ???- Live at Legends (1998)
Junior Wells & Friends (1999)
Every Day I Have The Blues (2000)
Calling All Blues (2000)
Buddy Guy & Junior Wells ?? (2001)
Best Of.. (2001)
Live at Theresa's 1975 (2006)
(?? featuring Buddy Guy)

See also

Chicago Blues Festival

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Original Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junior Wells