Worldwide King of the Blues Jam

Today’s Jam is dedicated to the memory of the Beale Street Blues Boy and recognized King of the Blues, B.B. King, who passed last night at the age of eighty-nine.

I was fortunate enough to hear B.B. in person on three occasions, first at Wolf Trap in Northern Virginia, then at the Stanley Theater in Utica, and finally at DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids. Presenting a rousing, engaging performance through his late seventies and early eighties, King was the consummate showman if anyone ever was.

Here he is with the great Buddy Guy, who remembered B.B. in a post early this morning:

The King is dead they say. Long live the King.

Voodoo? Hoodoo? You d[a] Man Blues Jam

In last week’s review of Chicago Blues: The City & The Music, I lamented the exclusion of Hoodoo Man Blues, one of the great Chicago blues albums. Here’s a review by AllMusic’s Bill Dahl:

Hoodoo Man Blues is one of the truly classic blues albums of the 1960s, and one of the first to fully document, in the superior acoustics of a recording studio, the smoky ambience of a night at a West Side nightspot. Junior Wells just set up with his usual cohorts — guitarist Buddy Guy, bassist Jack Myers, and drummer Billy Warren — and proceeded to blow up a storm, bringing an immediacy to “Snatch It Back and Hold It,” “You Don’t Love Me, Baby,” “Chitlins con Carne,” and the rest of the tracks that is absolutely mesmerizing. Widely regarded as one of Wells’ finest achievements, it also became Delmark’s best-selling release of all time. Producer Bob Koester vividly captures the type of grit that Wells brought to the stage. When Wells and his colleagues dig into “Good Morning, Schoolgirl,” “Yonder Wall,” or “We’re Ready,” they sound raw, gutsy, and uninhibited. And while Guy leaves the singing to Wells, he really shines on guitar. Guy, it should be noted, was listed as “Friendly Chap” on Delmark’s original LP version of Hoodoo Man Blues; Delmark thought Guy was under contract to Chess, so they gave him a pseudonym. But by the early ’70s, Guy’s real name was being listed on pressings. This is essential listening for lovers of electric Chicago blues.

Many of the cuts on this album are traditional blues numbers, but Junior Wells and Buddy Guy put their own spin and rhythmic emphasis on these otherwise familiar songs. Today’s Jam is a good example:

(If the title of this post jogged something in you, here‘s what you need.)

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Related
Book review: Chicago Blues: The City & The Music