February 9, 1995 |
Chicago is famous for the blues, the Bundys and the hopeless Cubs, the team perhaps inspiring the former and defining the latter. A prominent member of even a short list of noted Chicago blues men would be none other than that wailing short guy Junior Wells, who will be blowing his harmonica and minds tonight at the Underground in Santa Barbara. Wells, 60, started playing the harmonica half a century ago after hearing it on the radio.
October 5, 1997 |
The blues turns the tables on the Stones in this tribute compilation, as veterans such as Junior Wells and the late Luther Allison essay Jagger-Richards classics. Most of these fine performances favor the originals but don't really fire the imagination. More satisfying are tracks such as Taj Mahal's stripped folk-blues take on "Honky Tonk Women," which infuse the Stones' essence into unique interpretations.
February 8, 1995 |
Hot, steaming sweat pours from Junior Wells' hatband, glistens in rivulets down his forehead and into his eyes, which are shut tightly as if the man is in untold pain or rapture. Sweat: It's the essence of this moment, spreading out in dark pools on the layers of swank clothing, dripping from the sizable chunks of gold that adorn long, black fingers and hang from a drenched, silk collar.
June 28, 1996 |
Everybody's crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man, right? Well, almost everybody. Junior Wells, who played the Coach House on Wednesday night, is one of the unlucky bluesmen of his generation who hasn't yet been given his due, even though his sound has been assimilated by two subsequent generations of blues musicians and even though he remains the baddest-lookin' cat to ever jam on the standard three-chord blues progression I-IV-V. Playing to a predictably small turnout (O.C.
February 10, 1995 |
Sometime after midnight Wednesday, Junior Wells and his three-piece horn section were assembled in a tight circle at the bar in the back of the Coach House, still blowing away while his rhythm section burned along on stage. It was an appropriate nightcap for the long, two-set performance from Wells and his eight-piece ensemble, a night that began more than four hours earlier with a pair of opening bands.
February 2, 2012 |
It's been close to 10 years since Chicago soul/funk legend Syl Johnson played L.A. on or off camera. "I did 'Soul Train' and 'American Bandstand' out there," said the singer and guitarist, whose 1967 hit, "Different Strokes" (with its signature grunts and laughs), was a calling card of sorts for Johnson. "I used to love L.A. " After slipping into near obscurity in the 1980s, though, the seventysomething Johnson (who prefers not to give his age) came to L.A. only on rare occasions, usually to play the less-flashy blues circuit.