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Biography

"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".
1961 brought financial difficulties for Mel London, though he was able to release some ten records before Chief was forced to close down. Half of these were by Junior Wells and came principally from two last sessions which mixed straight blues with London's more speculative compositions. Of these latter "I Need Me A Car" is the least successful, an essentially 'white' song prefaced by an embarrassing piece of hokum. "The Things I'd Do For You" is an improvement, a fast shuffle that shows London was the equal of Willie Dixon when it came to stringing cliches together. "Love Me", written in collaboration with Wells, is a follow-up to "Messin' With The Kid", with Junior once again sounding like 'The Man'.
Wells' own contributions are both fine slow blues: "I'm A Stranger" features sensitive interplay between 'Big Moose' Walker, Lafayette Leake and Earl Hooker; the remake of "I Could Cry" is in similar vein, but slightly marred by a balance which favours some heavy-handed organ from Walker. His Fats Domino-inspired piano is equally prominent on "It Hurts Me Too", which London had the brass neck to claim for himself! - NEIL SLAVEN

Personnel:
Junior Wells ……..Harmonica, Vocals, Cover Design
Earl Hooker ………Guitar, Performer
Julien Beasley ……….Sax (Alto)
Fred Below ………Drums
Reggie Boyd ………Guitar
Jackie Brenston ………Sax (Baritone)
Willie Dixon ……….Bass, Vocals
Gary Gibson ………..Sax (Tenor)
Lacy Gibson ………Guitar
Donald Hankins ………..Sax (Baritone)
Earnest Johnson ……..Bass
Syl Johnson ………..Guitar
Casey Jones ………..Drums
Lafayette Leake ………..Piano
Mel London ………….Vocals
Eugene Lounge …………….Drums
Dave Myers …………..Guitar
Jack Myers ………..Bass
A.C. Reed ……………..Sax (Tenor)
Otis Spann …………Piano
Harold Tidwell ……………Drums
Johnny Big Moose Walker ……………Organ, Piano

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