Junior Wells – Use Me
Junior Wells (December 9, 1934 – January 15, 1998), born Amos Wells Blakemore Jr., was an American Chicago blues vocalist, harmonica player, and recording artist.
He was one of the pioneers of the amplified blues harp-style associated with Chicago. Wells is best known for his signature song “Messin’ with the Kid” and his 1965 album Hoodoo Man Blues, described by the critic Bill Dahl as “one of the truly classic blues albums of the 1960s”.
Wells performed and recorded with Various notable blues musicians, including Muddy Waters, Earl Hooker, and Buddy Guy. He remained a fixture on the blues scene throughout his career and also crossed over to rock audiences while touring with the Rolling Stones.
Not long before Wells died, the blues historian Gerard Herzhaft called him “one of the rare active survivors of the ‘golden age of the blues'”.
Life and career
Wells may have been born in Memphis, Tennessee, and raised in West Memphis, Arkansas (some sources report that he was born in West Memphis). Initially taught by his cousin Junior Parker and by Sonny Boy Williamson II, Wells learned to play the harmonica skillfully by the age of seven.
He moved to Chicago in 1948 with his mother, after her divorce, and began sitting in with local musicians at house parties and taverns. Wild and rebellious but needing an outlet for his talents, he began performing with the Aces, consisting of the brothers Dave and Louis Myers on guitars and the drummer Fred Below, with whom he developed a modern amplified harmonica style influenced by Little Walter.
In 1952, he made his first recordings when he replaced Little Walter in Muddy Waters’s band and played on one of Waters’s sessions for Chess Records in 1952.
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