Re: [Harp-L] Re: Is Junior Wells over-rated?

Dunno about posing as a "Great Bluesman". I saw Wells with Buddy Guy here
in melbourne, Oz, in '72. I thought he was going for no.1 Soul Brother more
than "Great Bluesman". I'd say James Brown was more the role model by the
'sixties than Walter or any of the blues doods, and being a harp hero was
probably not on the list anymore.
I went to both shows at the Melbourne town hall. The first one, Guy played
his heart out, while Wells did the jiving and show biz. The second night
both of them did nothing but jive, and I got so bored I walked out.
If Wells could move like James, I'm sure I would have hung in; it's not
being jived that bothers me, but I do expect to be entertained. I was in
the height of harmonica fever back then, and Wells didn't do it for me.
Saw Peter Ruth about a year later, and that did!

On 4 April 2013 09:46, martin oldsberg <martinoldsberg@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Totally over-rated. Excepting the early stuff, which was great.
>   He developed severe mannerisms in his playing and singing style and,
> possibly (though I havenÂt a clue) thought they compensated for a ... lack
> of interest or whatever; meanwhile posing as a Great Bluesman -- and maybe
> even buying it himself. Some people loved it and ate it up with both hands.
> This was up a few years ago and you will find that itÂs a something of a
> blasphemy in the blues harmonica church to denigrate an "authentic" Chicago
> blues icon, Âcause weÂre supposed to love and revere them no matter who
> lousy they are; but you may, like I did, receive quite a few off-list
> comments in support of your suspicion.
>   The really fascinating thing about Jr Wells is how he got so bad after
> being so good. I donÂt know enough of his life history to say that itÂs the
> same old story as Little Walter et al ("substance abuse" if thatÂs the
> going terminology) -- and maybe, just maybe, weÂll have to accept the
> notion that he thought he continued to live up to this:
> while playing those hopelessly
> sloppy solos that became typical of him -- and your clip is by no means the
> worst example of that.
>   ItÂs sad because there was obviously a talent at work in some points in
> his life. The same development in, say, a modernist jazz musician, would
> have had him/her laughed right off the stage.
> Cheers,
> Martin
> --------------------------------------------------
> Hey everybody. I'm not wanting to start a firestorm of disagreement, just
> wanting others' heated opinions on the subject (ha-ha). For several years,
> I've tried to listen to and appreciate Junior Wells, but apart from his
> playing on the old recording of Messin' with the Kid, I just do not
> appreciate his playing. His singing is okay, but his playing (please
> forgive me) seems like a lot of sloppy chord work to me, though some of his
> syncopation and 'pops' are good. If you appreciate his style, and have
> particular songs or youtubes that you think are great, I would like to know
> about them, because so far, whenever I hear him play, I think, "meh." I
> want to like him, but just don't. I've read elsewhere (can't recall where)
> that he tried to claim he wrote 'Juke' and Little Walter stole it... a
> claim I find ridiculous, as it certainly doesn't sound anything like the
> other examples of Junior's playing I have heard. In fact, I wonder
> (tongue-in-cheek, folks) if he played the harp on that recording of Messin'
> with the Kid, since it doesn't sound like the other examples of his playing
> I have heard. It's fast, furious, precise, rolling... I like it a lot. The
> little bit of chord work towards the end of the solo is right on. But I
> have yet to see a live version of the track in which Junior plays like he
> did on the recording... parts of his live versions sound similar, but
> chords are way off... as in this version:
>  which contains one of the
> longer examples of him soloing, but it definitely is not like the
> recording... chords are way off to my ears. Great singer, but mediocre harp
> player???
> Humbly yours,
> Troublemaker Dan.
> ------------------------------
> Message: 4
> Date: Wed, 3 Apr 2013 12:30:54

Rick Dempster
RMIT Libraries

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