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Earl Hooker & Junior Wells

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“Messin’ With The Kid”, on which Wells comes on like a young Muddy, proved to be a great success in the clubs and even provoked a response from Muddy, which he typically called “Messin’ With The Man”. The rest of the session produced another version of “So Tired” and a further attempt to emulate the hit formula of “Little By Little”. It was called “You Sure Look Good To Me” and must have made some impression, for it turns up word-for-word three years later masquerading as “Oo-Wee Baby” on the Chess “Folk Festival Of The Blues” album. ”


Mel London had first used Earl Hooker early in 1960 on Lillian Offitt’s “Will My Man Be Home Tonight”. A second Offitt session took place in May, at the end of which Hooker and Junior Wells cut an instrumental, “Calling All Blues”. Although at the time it was released as by Elmore James, this slow atmospheric blues, with Wells evoking “Blue Midnight” at one point, showed how thoroughly Hooker had been influenced by Robert Nighthawk and set the pattern for two other numbers also featured here. “Blue Guitar” and “These Cotton-Pickin’ Blues’ are each based upon well-known tunes, “Rock Me Baby” and Nighthawk’s “Sweet Black Angel” (or should that be Tampa Red’s?), and show how dextrously he could combine slide and finger-picking techniques. Other songs also masquerade under new titles: “Rockin’ With The Kid” is Earl’s version of Junior Wells’ hit “Messin’ With The Kid”, “Universal Rock” is “Got My Mojo Working” in all but name, and “Blues In D Natural” relies strongly on “Every Day I Have The Blues”.

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