Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Live at Theresa's 1975

Two hot nights with the blues-harmonica giant.

In 1965, Chicago Club regular Junior Wells, renowned for his soul-tinged spit-singing and his Little Walter-meets-Sonny Boy harp, released one of blues' great albums-as-albums: Hoodoo Man Blues. Unfortunately for his place in history, he cut it with a guitarist-vocalist named Buddy Guy, whose star soon outshone his own, and who later took top billing on two excellent live Wells albums. Nine years after Wells' death, then, here's the man in charge at his favorite South Side haunt, with Buddy's brother Phil on guitar. Meshing into a loose yet intricate groove on the opening "Little by Little," confidently slurring Slim Harpo's "Scratch My Back," singing "Happy Birthday" to a photographer, topping things off with Hoodoo Man's signature "Messin' With the Kid," Wells is king of a tiny realm that held forty customers. That time is gone. Here's a hint of how it felt.

Rolling Stone, June 14, 2007