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

Depends on what you like. Myself, I have trouble listening to Sonny Terry. For the pre-WWII style I like players like SBWI, Noah Lewis, Jaybird Coleman, and George Bullet Williams better. I think Wells is a fine player in the tradition of SBW I. I'm not as fond of his singing although it's generally better than Big Walter's. BTW, I think Howlin' Wolf was, in his own way, one of the best harp players ever to record although his technique was very limited. My favorite post WWII player is Big Walter.

On 4/3/2013 9:23 AM, Dan Hazen wrote:
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
Humbly yours,
Troublemaker Dan.

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