(Uh, sorry for this, just my attempt at a slight review, please criticize mercilessly at my failure at this.)
My copy of this reaaallly nice Chicago blues album came yesterday. It is supposedly one of the first blues ALBUMS - as in not just a collection of songs. Buddy and Junior really rip these (mostly) covers well. I can't really say the "Hound Dog" here is better than Elvis's (I haven't heard Big Mama Thorton's) but it is still a good version (and my second least favorite song here, but I still enjoy it). The opening "Snatch It Back and Hold It" is neat, mostly because it references "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," but it also has some great fills by the drummer Billy Warren, and it has a riff I can dig into.
"Ships on the Ocean" is probably my favorite track here, with Junior saying "Pick up on this, pick up this, this the blues baby y'hear?" right before the (also very good) harp solo. Man, I love slow blues like this. Great playing by Buddy and Billy Warren too. Hey! The bassist Jack Myers plays a solid bass line here also. And I love the harp line right before the end too.
Now a cover of "Good Morning Schoolgirl" (missing the "Little" bit in the title). Nice work by Buddy and Jack, and Billy plays solid too. Junior belts out the lyrics well too! "In the Wee Hours" has the most annoying part of the record in the beginning with Junior saying "Ooh wee" for a bit, but after that it goes into a nice slow blues solo showcase for Junior's harp, Buddy's six string, and Billy's smooth-as-silk drumming. They REALLY play well after that dumb intro part.
"Hey Lawdy Mama" is kinda silly, but, dammit, Buddy, Jack, and Billy tear this shit up at the beginning, and don't let up much. Junior plays some more mean harp here, if you can believe it. Ah, fuck the silliness, this might be the track that shows off their playing the most (well, Junior has better moments, but they sound SO good together here, I can't deny their skill in the least).
Now we have the title track with a great heavy intro and bass line. This (might) have my favorite lyrics (and singing) on the album. "But I hold in my ha-and/LORD!, I'm trying to make ya understand/Lord, y'know everybody they tell me baby/Somebody done hoodoo'd the Hoodoo Man." Then Junior lets out some laughter at the poor predicament the Hoodoo Man is in and lets out a great (okay, I'm starting to run out of adjectives to describe how much I like this stuff) harp solo with some more great rhythm work by Buddy and Billy.
"Early in the Morning" has some more cool lyrics (I think by Sonny Boy Williamson the First). "I passed by the juke joint/I peeped through the door/She was doing the boogie woogie/In the middle of the floor/Come see me early in the morning/Baby, about the break (HA!) of day/Lord, you should of saw me grabbing my pillow/Where my baby used to lay." Buddy's playing in the "early in the morning" part is really sick. Once again, everybody is TIGHT here.
"Let me know when you're ready/I'm ready/Alright, we're ready"...BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM is how "We're Ready" starts out, and is the only song here credited to Guy/Wells. And it is another tight (mostly) instrumental workout. These guys gotta be put in blues history because of how good the playing is on this here album, and this only a fraction of their careers....
"You Don't Love Me Baby" seems slightly fillerish, but it has some good riffing from Buddy and Jack. Junior lets out a short harp solo at the end which is alright too, but this song isn't near the top stuff here, but it's good. I sort of think of it as the "Doctor Robert" of the album.
Okay, now the last two songs. "Chitlin Con Carne" (Or "Chitlin With Steak" in English) is a fairly quick instrumental with the harp (and guitar) being the main attraction. And the playing together by the two at the beginning is neat. Then Junior plays some more headbanging worthy harp. The last song is a cover of Elmore James's "Yonder Wall" which isn't the best song to end on, but the playing throughout is fun and Junior yelps and other noises add to the entertainment level. Catchy bass line here, and mammoth fills by Billy Warren.
My reissue adds an alternate version of "Hoodoo Man Blues" taken at a slower tempo, so I don't like it as much, but the guitar work might be stronger, and an alternate "Chitlin Con Carne" which is longer by over a minute, so is better!
In short: buy this album! If you have any love for the Chicago blues, this is an essential purchase, and harp lovers simply will adore this.
(Once again sorry for this, but I'm, err, seeing if I can even write reviews. Thanks for reading, and please criticize the shit out of this.)
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