Every now and then, it appears that my list gets a little out of sequence. While we are in 1961, and my notes on my list say 1961, today’s album apparently was recorded in 1965. The good thing is, it doesn’t really feel out of sequence at all. “Hoodoo Man Blues”, featuring Junior Wells on vocals and harmonica, with Buddy Guy on guitar has a raw Chicago blues sound consistent with prior features Bo Diddley, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. This album is the 6th rated blues album on digitaldreamdoors.com.
For me, this is an album that picked up a lot of momentum and appeal as one song built on the next. I particularly enjoyed intersections with the past with their rendition of “Hound Dog”, which if you played them sequentially, you would have assumed Wells’ version was actually the early foreshadow for Elvis Presley, not the other way around. Also taking me back was the song “In the Wee Hours”. Although not the same song as recorded by Frank Sinatra, it certainly captured the same feeling and mood of a melancholy late evening. I would say my favorite cut was the title track, “Hoodoo Man Blues”, which is a great showcase of the combination of passionate blues singing, harmonica leads featured more prominently than on most of the blues music I have encountered to date, and a powerful tradeoff with Buddy Guy on guitar, who was originally masked under the pseudonym “Friendly Chap” for label concerns. This album does a great job of presenting this music as if it was being played live, a setting that would round out any evening.
Released in 1961 or 1965, it doesn’t matter. This is pure blues, another fantastic stepping stone in the foundation of blues rock, with a focus on harmonica and guitar seen subsequently in mainstream rock by bands such as the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and of course, Blues Traveler.