If Big Walter Horton got mentioned in the title every time he played on an album, half of all major 50s, 60s and 70s blues records should be called "This-and-than-artist and Big Walter Horton".
Here he is again, blowing his harp behind Robert Johnson's one-time travelling companion Johnny Shines on a reissue of Testament 2217 with two bonus tracks added.
This is Shines' second band-backed, electric album for Testament, and it brings together material from two different sessions (Chicago 1966 and Los Angeles 1969). Otis Spann plays superb piano on the Chicago tracks, which features the same band that played with Shines on his "Masters Of Modern Blues" album, and Luther Allison plays second and occational lead guitar on the L.A. tracks.
And the music is excellent. There may not be very much here as instantly memorable as the best songs by men like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, or Elmore James, but the songs are of generally high quality, and this is an enjoyable slice of classic 60s blues, played by some of the finest musicians of the genre.
The tracks recorded in Chicago are the best, featuring both Spann and blues drummer par excellence Fred Below (Horton is on all of them), and they include a fine rendition of Big Maceo Merriweather's "Worried Life Blues" and the almost jazz-like "I Want To Warn You".
But the L.A. tracks are not far behind, with some great guitar playing from Luther Allison, a funky "Fat Mama", and a great "If It Ain't Me", which sees Johnny Shines doing a good impression of Rice Miller (Sonny Boy Williamson II).
A critic once called this the greatest Chicago blues record ever. It's not, but it is a pretty good one all the same.