Blues heroes | Junior Wells

“As a boy I was listening to Sonny Williamson records and I would close my eyes and visualize myself playing the harp.”

– Junior Wells

jr wells002

Photo by Brett Littlehales

One of the best-loved harp players in Chicago blues was Junior Wells. He took inspiration from the top living harmonica players and brought a passion and fire that was all his own.

Born and raised in West Memphis Arkansas, Wells learned from local blues hero Junior Parker. He was a skillful harmonica player by the time he was seven.

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Blues Songs | Going Down Slow

LegendsIf you’ve been blues-dancing for a little while, you’ll almost certainly have danced to some version of ‘Going Down Slow’.

One of the things DJs do to find new music is by listening to covers. We love to surprise dancers by playing less familiar versions of well-known songs, especially ‘blues standards’.

I started my search for Goin’ Down Slow on Spotify and YouTube a few months back. I found myself listening more closely to the lyrics and became curious to learn where the song came from and how it travelled and changed over time.

Listening to this one song through the decades allowed me to hear subtle changes of instrumentation and vocal emphasis. It’s a perfect example of how a ‘blues standard’ can be interpreted and arranged in different ways, depending on when, where and by whom it was recorded.

Here’s my playlist if you’d like to listen along.

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