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Junior Wells (December 9, 1934 – January 15, 1998), born Amos Wells Blakemore Jr., was a blues vocalist and harmonica player based in Chicagomarker, 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 Memphismarker, Tennesseemarker, and raised in Arkansasmarker. Initially influenced by fellow Memphian Junior Parker, and both Sonny Boy Williamsons, Wells moved to Chicagomarker 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 Chief Records and its Profile Records subsidiary, including "Messin' with the Kid", "Come on in This House", and "It Hurts Me Too", which would remain in his repertoire throughout his career. His 1960 Profile single "Little by Little" (written by Chief owner and producer Mel London) reached #23 in the Billboard R&B chart, making it the first of two Wells' singles to enter the chart.

Junior Wells worked with Buddy Guy in the 1960s and recorded his first album, Hoodoo Man Blues for Delmark Records. 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, Chicagomarker 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


  1. - accessed May 2009
  2. The United and States Labels Part I Accessed August 11, 2009

External links

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