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Junior Wells: Live at Buddy Guy’s Legends

Since parting ways with longtime guitar partner Buddy Guy, harmonica legend and rough hewn vocalist Junior Wells has sought to establish himself as “The Godfather Of The Blues,” a nod to James Brown and to his own Southside Chicago roots. On Live At Buddy Guy’s Legends (Telarc 83412; 58:10), he comes out smoking like J.B. on a “Sex Machine” -styled groove entitled “Broke And Hungry.” A three-horn frontline adds punch to classic Wells fare like the swaggering “Messin’ With The Kid,” the deep blues of “Hoodoo Man,” the hot-blooded audience participation number “Little By Little” and the Chicago showstopper “Got My Mojo Workin’.” Wells settles into a sensuous vibe on Al Green’s silky smooth “Sweet Sixteen,” reserves his most impassioned vocals for Lowell Fuslon’s “Love Her With A Feeling” and turns Merle Haggard’s “Today I Started Loving You Again” into a brassy, goodtime Southside Chicago party vehicle. An exhilarating live set by the 62-year-old living legend. And on a purely sonic note, the sheer presence of this live performance is astounding.

Originally Published