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BLUES & GOSPEL

Johnny "Guitar" Watson -> Junior Wells

JOHNNY "GUITAR" WATSON
ALABAMA WATSON/ GUITAR NUBITT
JAMES "WEE WILLIE" WAYNE
KENNY "BLUES BOSS" WAYNE
CARL WEATHERSBY
SYLVESTER WEAVER
KATIE WEBSTER
CASEY BILL WELDON
JUNIOR WELLS

 

JOHNNY "GUITAR" WATSON Ace CDCHD 621 Hot Just Like TNT ● CD $18.98
28 tracks, 74 min., recommended
An upgrade to Aces original Johnny "Guitar" Watson CD (Ace 909) this expands the original 14 tracks to 28 featuring West Coast recordings for Modern/RPM ('55/56), Dig ('57), Keen ('57/58) and Eldo ('60) Labels. Those of you who have the 1992 P-Vine (Japanese) set (PCD 3026/27) of his Modern/RPM sides will be familiar with these master takes which differ ever so slightly from the alternate takes used on Ace 909. Included in this new CD is a previously unknown take of Don't Touch Me (I'm Gonna Hit The Highway). The rest of the set is made up of 4 Bumps Blackwell productions for Keen Records, which includes the original version of Gangster Of Love ('58); and 7 Johnny Otis produced sides, 4 taken from a 1960 unissued session where he's assisted by a vocal group & sings very much like Ray Charles. Highlights include Hot Little Mama ('55, with Maxwell Davis Orchestra), Those Lonely, Lonely Nights ('55, #10 R&B hit), Love Bandit (vocal-piano demo) and I Got A Girl ('57). (EL)
JOHNNY 'GUITAR' WATSON: Ain't Gonna Hush/ Come On Baby/ Deana Baby/ Dee's Boogie/ Don't Touch Me (i'm Gonna Hit The Highway)/ Gangster Of Love/ Give A Little/ Honey/ Hot Little Mama/ I Got A Girl (that Lives Over Yonder)/ I Love To Love You/ Lonely Girl/ Love Bandit (gangster Of Love)/ Love Me Baby/ My Baby And Me/ Next Disc/ Oh Baby/ One Room Country Shack/ Ruben/ She Moves Me/ Someone Cares For Me/ Telephone Boogie/ Those Lonely, Lonely Nights/ Three Hours Past Midnight/ Too Tired/ You've Been Gone Too Long

 
JOHNNY "GUITAR" WATSON Collectables 7619 The Best Of The Okeh Years ● CD $13.98
20 sides recorded for Okeh in 1966 and 1967. The first 12 tracks are from sessions with his good friend Larry Williams who plays piano and joins Johnny on several duets including the hits Mercy, Mercy, Mercy and Nobody. The next six tracks are from the 1967 album "The Fantastic Piano And Guitar Of Johnny Watson - BAD" featuring Johnny and a small band tackling instrumental versions of R&B favorites like Fever/ Unchain My Heart/ Comin' Home Baby and others. The last two tracks feature Johnny on piano and vocals accompanied by bass and drums doing rather tame performances of Makin' Whoopee and Ain't Misbehavin' from Johnny's album "In A Fats Bag" - his tribute to the great Fats Waller.

 
JOHNNY "GUITAR" WATSON V.S.O.P. 117 The Original "Gangster Of Love" - Keen Records Sessions ● CD $15.98
22 tracks, 64 min., good
If you're wondering how Watson's two Keen sessions (one in 1957, one in 1958), which yielded but 5 songs, can be sustained for 22 tracks, with a running time of 64:30, the answer is alternate takes, and plenty of them. That Watson was a musical genius, I will gladly concede, but unless you are writing a dissertation on alternate takes of blues ballads recorded for small labels in the late 1950s (and someone probably is), this release if for big-time fans only. Who else wants to hear 10 consecutive takes of Gangster Of Love? Or 5 consecutive takes of One Room Country Shack? Or 3 of Honey (even if the Turks are singing background? Or 7 straight shots of Deana Baby? The booklet features notes by Steve Propes and a couple of cool photos, if that helps. (JC)

 
JOHNNY "GUITAR" WATSON Varese 66611 Space Guitar - The Essential Early Masters ● CD $11.98
18 tracks, highly recommended
A great collection from this important West Coast bluesman including 12 of his 1953/54 Federal recordings and six of his 1961/63 King recordings. The former, issued as by Young John Watson, are fine examples of West Coast blues with Johnny accompanied by excellent small bands. On seven of these cuts Johnny plays piano, the guitar honors taken by Wayne Bennett or Harold Grant. The remaining 5 cuts from '54 feature Johnny's distinctive staccato guitar style, including the wild instrumental Space Guitar (two takes are included). The 1961 sessions are a lot slicker with larger bands, and on one track, strings (!) but are still fine and includes such classics as Cuttin' In, Those Lonely Lonely Feelings & the great Gangster Of Love. (FS)

 
ALABAMA WATSON/ GUITAR NUBITT Wolf WBJ 013 Bluestown Story Vol. 1 ● CD $11.98
21 tracks, recommended
Some time ago I was raving about a Matchbox mini LP featuring 7 tracks by the amazing country bluesman Guitar Nubbit (Alvin Hankerson) recorded in 1962 and '65 for the Boston based Bluestown label. I was bemoaning the fact that the rumored tapes of unissued songs had never surfaced. Well guess what? They surfaced. This disc features all 8 issued songs plus two previously unissued songs. The issued tracks include his masterpiece Georgia Chain Gang which is surely one of the greatest country blues recorded in the post war era. A story song full of weird almost surrealistic images ("I whistled to my shotgun/ It crawled down from the wall/ I pulled its tongue and it bellowed and barked") sung with a passion and conviction in a distinctive and unique voice which is propelled along by his energetic and percussive guitar. By comparison the rest of the songs are almost mundane but by any other standards are exceptional with great singing and guitar. The two unissued tracks Meletonia and I Feel So Relaxed are not among his better songs but are still very fine. The rest of the CD features 11 tracks by the unexceptional Alabama Watson whose four issued sides are good but the unissued material featuring alternates takes of the issued songs and versions of Lightnin' Hopkins and Muddy Waters songs are mundane indeed. The sound is good and the booklet has extensive notes by Ron Bartolucci. Unfortunately the notes are almost unreadable due to the small size of the type and the appalling proof reading with misspellings, unexpected case changes and lack of paragraphs. Still forget all that and listen to the incredible music of Guitar Nubbit. (FS)

   
JAMES "WEE WILLIE" WAYNE Bayou 1004 From Texas To New Orleans ● CD $18.98
31 tracks, 79 mins, recommended
A most welcome reissue by this excellent and distinctive Texas singer and excellent songwriter who recorded quite extensively in New Orleans and is best known for the original versions of the classic songs Junco Partner & Travelin' Mood (both here). The recordings were made between 1951 and 61 - the New Orleans sides feature such great names as Lee Allen, Justin Adams and others. Also includes Bad Morning Mr. Blues/ Gypsy Blues/ I Got To Be Careful/ A two Faced Man/ Bullcorn, etc. Sound is good but it's a shame there are no notes. (FS)

 
CARL WEATHERSBY Evidence 26075 Don't Lay Your Blues On Me ● CD $16.98
10 Tracks, 54 min., recommended
A long-time member--14 years!--of Billy Branch's Sons Of Blues (a.k.a. SOBs), Weathersby and his guitar have finally released their own album, a mix of blues standards (Buster Brown's Fannie Mae, Willie Dixon's Same Thing) and originals (Rock Your Town, The Things The Blues Will Make You Do). When Weathersby lets the song tell his strings what to do (Your Love Is Everything, Poverty), things are fine. But when he forces those fiery solos--and he certainly can heat up a track--they sound, well, forced. And his version of Howlin' Wolf's Killing Floor is a mistake. Still, don't be surprised if he's the next big blues thing. (JC)

 
CARL WEATHERSBY Evidence 26099 Restless Feeling ● CD $16.98
Long time guitarist with Billy Branch's Sons Of The Blues, the Chicago guitarist's father was friends with Albert King, who was a prime influence, in vocals as well as guitar. In fact, the opening title tune is a cover of the King tune; another cover, Allen Toussaint's We All Wanna Boogie, was also 1st done by King. Soulful as well as bluesy, this, his 3rd for Evidence, is mostly original tunes by Weathersby or guitarist Rico McFarland, with some fine covers including Lightnin' Hopkins' Glory Be, Al Green's Rhymes, even Johnny "Guitar" Watson's A Real Mutha Fuh Ya. (GM)

 
SYLVESTER WEAVER Document DOCD 5113 Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order, Vol 2 ● CD $15.98
The second volume is equally good featuring 21 recordings made between August and November 1927 and most of the sides have better sound. Most of the cuts feature Weaver with guitarist Walter Beasley and the empathy between the two guitarists is stunning. There are several instrumental duets including the masterful Bottleneck Blues where both play slide. There are a number of exceptional songs from Weaver which display a high level of creativity including the incredibly bizarre Tapeworm Blues, the fascinating Devil Blues which is one the few blues songs to use the image of a "hellhound" which figures so prominently in Robert Johnson's Hellhound On My Trail. There are a number of accompaniments to fine singer Helen Humes including the delightful Garlic Blues and several songs feature the vocals of Beasley - a decent, if unexceptional, singer. Another essential release. (FS)

 
KATIE WEBSTER Alligator 4766 The Swamp Boogie Queen ● CD $15.98
Excellent album by Louisiana's Queen of blues, boogie and soul. Accompaniment by her band - the fine 3 piece Silent Partners she performs a selection of blues, soul, swamp pop and boogie. The emphasis is on a 60s soul sounds with driving versions of Johnny Taylor's Who's Making Love, her former boss Otis Reddings Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa and Try A Little Tenderness (the latter with a nice up tempo ending) and Joe Tex's Hold On To What You've Got with new and witty spoken section by Katie. She also does a fine version of the old swamp pop hit Sea Of Love and gets in a splendid boogie workout on her own Black Satin with a whimsical intro from Clare De Lune. Several guest musicians appear including Robert Cray adding some trademark licks on Whose Making Love and the splendid Memphis Horns round out the sound on a couple of tracks. Other guests include Bonnie Raitt and Kim Wilson whose contributions are fairly expendable. Still a most worthwhile album from a major talent. (FS)

 
KATIE WEBSTER Alligator 4777 Two-Fisted Mama! ● CD $15.98
New album with her new road band and guest appearance by The Memphis Horns on 3 cuts.

 
KATIE WEBSTER Alligator 4803 No Foolin' ● CD $12.98

 
KATIE WEBSTER Arhoolie 393 I Know That's Right - Solo And With Hot Links ● CD $13.98
12 tracks, 72 min., recommended
This expands on Arhoolie LP 1094; basically a 1985 studio collaboration with Katie and the local band Hot Links. That album got good reviews, and helped Katie get her present career on track. Its strengths are all here - the catchy rocker I Know That's Right, swamp pop of Don't Accuse Me, the blues grinders I Want You To Love Me/ Snatch It And Grab It, a boogie woogie solo and more. Unreleased additions include an ultra-soulful solo When Something Is Wrong With My Baby, a moving Jesus Loves Me, and a live cut from the Arhoolie 25th-year party. Hot Links adds solid horn charts and solo support to Katie's good time swamp-rockin' sound. (MB)
KATIE WEBSTER: Don't Accuse Me/ I Know That's Right/ I Want You To Love Me/ Jesus Loves Me / Only A Look (*)/ Jimmy Jimmy/ Katie's Boogie Woogie/ Million Dollar Secret/Shake, Rattle, And Roll (*)/ Misty Blue (*)/ Snatch And Grab It/ Voodoo BlissBo Jenkins (*)/ When Something Is Wrong With My Baby (*)

 
CASEY BILL WELDON Document DOCD 5218 Complete Recorded Works, 1935-38 : Vol 2 ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, 77 min., recommended Continuing from volume 1 (Document 5217), this set begins with Casey Blues, a deep slide guitar blues, accompanied by pianist Black Bob Hudson. The rest of the CD contains 23 Vocalion sides, all featuring a rhythm guitarist (Big Bill Broonzy or Tampa Red), and four examples of his playing with clarinetist Albert Nelson. Billed as the "Hawaiian Guitar Wizard", his playing is outstanding, especially on the 3 titles that were covered by Washboard Sam : Back Door, The Big Boat, and his own composition, the blues standard We Gonna Move (To The Outskirts Of Town). Volume 3 (1937-1938) contains the rest of his Vocalion sides and his 1938 Bluebird session. (EL)

 
CASEY BILL WELDON Document DOCD 5219 Complete Recorded Works, 1935-38 : Vol 3 ● CD $15.98

 
CASEY BILL WELDON/ KOKOMO ARNOLD Yazoo 1049 Bottleneck Guitar Trendsetters Of The 1930's ● CD $15.98
The pairing of music by Weldon and Arnold works well not simply because the two were "trendsetters," but also because of their wildly unconventional slide guitar styles, styles that made them more popular than, say, Robert Johnson. Weldon shines on You Just As Well Let Her Go/ You Should't Do That(i.e., kill your cheating woman or yourself), Back Door Blues, and the amusing Western Swing standard Go Ahead, Buddy. But as entertaining and unusual as Weldon's approach is, it doesn't even tread water next to the frantic abandon of Kokomo Arnold on The Twelves (The Dirty Dozens), a song that is not merely played, but attacked, conquered, and possessed. The rest of his tracks, including the risque Busy Bootin'/ Feels So Good, display his varied guitar technique - something some collections fail to do adequately. The Stephen Calt/John Miller liner notes are informative, to be sure, but written in the absolute key of Dull. Sound is just fine. (Reissues Yazoo LP 1049.) Recommended. (JC)

 
JUNIOR WELLS Delmark 612 Hoodoo Man Blues ● CD $11.98
CD reissue of Junior Wells' first LP, with Buddy Guy. Snatch It Back And Hold It/Good Morning Schoolgirl/You Don't Love Me Baby/title cut, 14 in all including bonus alternate takes of Hoodoo Man Blues/Chitlin Con Carne. Great!

 
JUNIOR WELLS Delmark 628 Southside Blues Jam ● CD $11.98
8 tracks, 40 min., recommended. Straight CD reissue of the 1970 LP. It's no Hoodoo Man Blues, but it's hard to knock. After all, not only does it have Buddy Guy playing guitar all over the place (sometimes with Louis Myers), but Buddy even sings on Trouble Don't Last Always. And how can you not like the last studio recording of blues piano great Otis Spann? For his part, Jr. plays some fine harp and sings up a storm, even if he is occasionally tempted into doing his James Brown, Jr. impression. Includes Stop Breaking Down/ Blues For Mayor Daley/ You Say You Love Me and more. It's over too soon. (JC)
JUNIOR WELLS: Baby, Please Lend Me Your Love/ Blues For Mayor Daley/ I Could Have Had Religion/ I Just Want To Make Love To You/ I Wish I Knew What I Know Now/ Stop Breaking Down/ You Say You Love Me

 
JUNIOR WELLS Delmark 635 On Tap ● CD $11.98
Mid-70's studio recording, right up there with Junior's other Delmark treasures Hoodoo Man Blues/ South Side Blues Jam. Buddy Guy is conspicuously absent here, but guitarists Sammy Lawhorn and Phil Guy fill the gap, along with pianist Big Moose Walker and saxman A.C. Reed. 9 cuts, including the unissued Goin' Down Slow and Key to The Highway/ Love Her With A Feeling/ What My Mama Told Me. (MB)
JUNIOR WELLS: Goin' Down Slow./ Junior's Thing/ Key To The Highway/ So Long/ Someday Baby/ The Train I Ride/ Watch Me Move/ What My Mama Told Me/ You Gotta Love Her With A Feeling

 
JUNIOR WELLS Delmark 640 Blues Hit Big Town ● CD $11.98
Essential sides recorded for States in 1953 & '54 with Junior accompanied by incredible musicians like Elmore James, Muddy Waters, Louis Myers, Johnnie Jones, Otis Spann and others. Includes several great tracks not originally issued. 
JUNIOR WELLS: Blues Hit Big Town/ Blues Hit Big Town (alternate)./ Bout The Break Of Day/ Can't Find My Baby/ Cut That Out/ Eagle Rock/ Eagle Rock (alternate)/ Hoodoo Man/ Junior's Wail/ Junior's Wail (alternate)/ Lord Lord/ Lord Lord (alternate)/ Please Throw This Poor Dog A Bone/ Please Throw This Poor Dog A Bone (alternate)/ So All Alone/ Tomorrow Night/ Ways Like An Angel

 
JUNIOR WELLS Delmark 787 Live At Theresa's, 1975 ● CD $14.98
The excellent Chicago singer and harmonica player recorded live at Theresa's in 1975 with a fine band including Phil Guy on guitar on most of the tracks plus guitarists Byther Smith and Sammy Lawhorn adding their contributions. Junior is in good form on a selection of ten songs and tunes including Little By Little/ Love Her With A Feeling/ Scratch My back/ Come On In This House/ key To The Highway/ Messin' With The Kid, etc.

 
JUNIOR WELLS Telarc 83354 Better Off With The Blues ● CD $11.98
 

 
JUNIOR WELLS Vanguard VMD 73120 It's My Life Baby ● CD $12.98
A blues classic, recorded live and in the studio with Buddy Guy, Fred Below and more. 12 cuts.

 
JUNIOR WELLS Vanguard VMD 79262 Coming At You ● CD $12.98
 

 
JUNIOR WELLS Vanguard 79508 Best Of The Vanguard Years ● CD $16.98
20 track compilation featuring most of Junior's Vanguard recordings drawn from his contribution to the classic "Chicago - The Blues Today" series (1965) and his 1966 album which was partly live - all featuring Buddy Guy on guitar plus two previously unissued tracks - Help Me (A Tribute To Sonny Boy Williamson)/ Messin' With The Kid/ All Night Long/ It's So Sad To be Lonely/ Stormy Monday Blues/ Checking On My baby/ (I Got A) Stomach Ache/ I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man/ Shotgun Blues, etc.

 
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