Like beans and cornbread, Junior Wells and Buddy Guy simply belong together, and this CD shows you why. Blending traditional blues with South Side Chicago style, (plus a smidgen of James Brown influenced funk), It's My Life, Baby! offers listeners a master class blues tutorial that sounds good, feels good, and satisfies the soul. "The Blues" is a very big tent with many camels trying to sneak in. Some think Robert Johnson sitting at the crossroads is the beginning and end of the blues. Others, (God help them), think that long-haired, drug-addled white boys in spandex smashing up hotel rooms is the blues. While the blues may be hard to define, it's not quite that hard, and, at the very least, blues isn't blues unless it's authentic. That is the real beauty of this CD, not just the exceptional singing and "blues harp" work of Junior Wells, and outstanding Buddy Guy guitar, but the complete lack of artifice.
Novice collectors take note. Junior Wells and Buddy Guy are both head of the class, but not everything they recorded is wonderful. There are plenty of clunkers out there, insist on this CD and Hoodoo Man Blues, featuring the same dynamic duo. Buddy Guy, in particular, is capable of wandering far into the woods for no apparent reason. The time I saw him perform he appeared to be intent on doing a very bad, and very loud, Hendrix impression. (Buddy Guy has quite a resentment against Hendrix, claiming he discovered and perfected the use of feedback long before Jimi.) You'll have to walk a very long way down a very rough road to find another blues singer with more force and authority than Junior Wells, and, short of Little Walter, it would be difficult to find anyone better able to make a blues harp weep and moan. Quite simply, It's My Life, Baby - and Hoodoo Man Blues - are as good as it gets.