Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Junior Wells “Come On In This House”

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Wanna know who I wish I could spend my Valentine’s day with? Junior Wells. He’s not around anymore, but Junior Wells was a long-legged bluesman with high cheekbones and big hair. Those who knew him called him honest, loyal, and hilarious. The man could levitate a crowd with his harmonica. And believe me, Junior could buckle the knees of any woman with the flash of a smile.

But even the luckiest ladies’ man feels the love god’s wrath. Even the hoodoo man gets hoodoo’d.

Junior wrote one of my favorite love songs. I’ll hit you with it now. I’m beggin’ you please…”Come On in This House.”

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tumblr_mvk2kr5lpr1s4g1ulo1_500Junior Wells was born Amos Wells Blakemore Jr. on December 9, 1934. He learned to play harmonica from his cousin, legend in his own right Junior Parker. By seven years old he was a wunderkind. There’s a great story that Junior liked to tell. As quoted from the liner notes of his seminal album Hoodoo Man Blues (1965):

Junior Wells“I went to this pawnshop downtown and the man had a harmonica priced at $2.00. I got a job on a soda truck… played hookey from school … worked all week and on Saturday the man gave me a dollar and a half. A dollar and a half! For a whole week of work. I went to the pawnshop and the man said the price was two dollars. I told him I had to have that harp. He walked away from the counter — left the harp there. So I laid my dollar-and-a-half on the counter and picked up the harp. When my trial came up, the judge asked my why I did it. I told him I had to have that harp. The judge asked me to play it and when I did he gave the man the 50 cents and hollered “Case dismissed!”

After he moved to Chicago from Arkansas in 1948, Junior developed his own amplified harmonica style, inspired by the great Little Walter. After a stint with the Aces, Junior replaced Little Walter in the Muddy Waters Band. As masterful as he was with his harp, Junior could equally slay on vocals. Over his long career, Junior released a number of his own recordings, as well as with his long-time partner, Buddy Guy.

Junior passed away on January 15, 1998. He is buried in Chicago.

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