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4.8 out of 5 stars29
4.8 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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I always wondered why people bother to critique music in this type of forum - then along come Hoodoo Man Blues.
This CD has just blown me away completely.
Junior Well's vocals are incredible, moving and confident - he appears so utterley comfortable with his music. And then there is his harmonica playing, which is nothing short of intoxicating.
A young Buddy Guy accompanies Wells and shows his early mastery of electric blues guitar: highly expressive and tuneful.
The partnership of these two awesome figures was made in heaven. Also, as if things couldn't get any better, the recording is audiophile quality - I'll say that again, the recording is audiophile quality - if you can't SEE the music, your hi-fi is ready for the scrap heap. A Beautiful album that anyone with even the faintest interest in the blues must own - its the real deal, and you won't stop playing it!
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on 8 May 2011
This was recorded when blues had lost its popularity with Black Americans. Stax, Motown and James Brown reflected their aspirations much better, expressing self confidence and hope without harking back to plantations, poverty and life as a second class citizen.
There's not a moment of self doubt or worry about a disappearing audience in this session. Junior is right up there, singing his heart out and blowing on his harmonica with hunger and enthusiam - and a touch of menace when necessary. He's hungry,he's got something to say, and he's got the self-confidence to nod in the direction of James Brown without stooping to plagiarism.
Buddy is a sensitive and intelligent accompanist. He knows when to keep in the background, when to push Junior on, and when to step into the spot light and fill in empty bars. He's that rarest of things in the 1960s, a lead guitarist who wants to contribute to the music, not dominate it. If you can think of an album with a better supporting guitarist - in any genre, not just the blues- please put it on the comment page, because I'd love to hear it.
The guys on drums and bass just lay down a nice steady background with no histrionics or unecessary flourishes. It all sounds easy, but it isn't.
This wasn't the best time to be making a blues album. However, it's a classic - arguably the last great blues album.
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VINE VOICEon 3 September 2003
Hot foot from Muddy Waters and Earl Hooker Wells teamed up with guitar master Buddy Guy, bassist Jack Myers and drummer Billy Warren to record this Chicago masterpiece, reputedly the first LP recorded by a working Chicago blues band it crackles with menace, Junior commands you to 'Snatch it Back and Hold It' at the opener before tearing it out of your hands and pushing it back in your face, this is a superb set where everything gels, Guy (I think billed as Friendly Chap on the original cover) tears it up and Wells meaty harp compliments the onslaught parry and thrust, what it must have been to see this band in its prime.
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A historic first in the history of recorded music, this wonderful album is generally considered to be the first Blues album. Recorded in 1965, albums had been around for a while, but the great blues singers and labels tended to record singles, and what albums had been put out were merely collections of singles. This was the first time a series of recordings had been made with the intention of making an album.

Even without the notable first, this would still be an essential album for any blues lover's collection. Here we have not one, but two masters of the genre starting out on their careers. We have the incomparable Junior Wells on harp and vocals, and one of my long time blues guitar heroes Buddy Guy showing us just why he would become a legend.

This is down and dirty Chicago blues of the highest order. It kicks off with the attention grabbing `snatch it back and hold it', which really sets the mood. The band then proceed to grind their way through a set of blues standards (including an impressive reworking of `good morning little schoolgirl', a tribute to the harp player extraordinaire of the previous generation, Sonny Boy Williamson I) and a couple of originals. Junior Wells shows time and time again why Muddy Waters chose him as successor to Little Walter when he left Water's band. His harmonica playing is tuneful and emotional, played with great passion. And his vocals are sublime. And as for Buddy Guy's guitar work - it just doesn't get better.

This CD from Delmark presents the original album in stereo with a decent sound quality. There are two bonus alternative takes, one of the anthemic `hoodoo man blues', and the superb instrumental workout `chitli' con carne'. These are interesting and add to the album. The liner notes contain a short essay on Junior Wells, and limited track details.

All in all, a superb release, and a must for any blues fan, not only for the historical significance, but for the quality of the music. 5 stars.
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on 9 April 2009
Hoodoo Man BluesI bought this album on a Delmark LP about 44 years ago, mail order direct from Chicago and it still sounds superb (I also have the CD). It was one of the first "Blues albums" as opposed to "a collection of singles" and set the standard which others are still trying to emulate. It became the template that many bands (my own included) tried to follow. Blues has got a lot louder since then but never as modern as this.
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VINE VOICEon 28 April 2006
I found this c.d. from a link from another artist, listened to a few soundbites and thought I would give it a go.

I am sure glad I did. The sound on the disk is fantastic. How they transferred this to this quality is truly amazing.

It is a ADD quality and highlights the level of musicianship from the young Buddy Guy on guitar and the energy and feeling of Junior. I have quite a large selection of blues but this has just climbed to the top.

I will be looking for some more from this label.

Buy and enjoy. It feels like it was recorded yesterday!
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on 3 January 2002
One of my favorite CDs. A young, daring Junior Wells with a young Buddy Guy on guitar. This is a very lively record with much energy, even the slow tracks are very intense. The sound on this record is surprisingly good too. If you like Chicago's fifties blues this is a very fine record.
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on 20 October 2013
Bought this for around £10 from a marketplace seller. Took a while to arrive, but price was good so can't complain.

The pressing isn't the best and normally this would annoy me no end. It's very noisy at the start of each side and between tracks but once the music starts it's barely noticeable. I've had new albums where the noise is a constant through both sides with lots of crackle. This doesn't suffer the same affliction.The noise on this album is like vinyl roar if that's the correct terminology.

The music is great, harmonica playing superb and the guitar work is subtle but tasteful.None of those 12 minute solos where the guitarist is simply showing off.

It must be a digital re-issue too but it's not dry and compressed like many re-issues you get. The sound quality is very good indeed. I think when the original is recorded so well any re-issues can be then be made well, which this is. I bought it because many people mention it as one of their favourite blues albums, so took a chance. I'm glad I did - it's one of the best albums I own now. Even the wife likes it and she's not a blues fan by any means.
I'm considering buying the CD simply for convenience reasons, and because you get the MP3 versions free too.
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on 1 February 2011
outstanding chicago blues with a splash of james brown style funky energy. junior wells is a fantastic harp player in the tradition of rice miller, little walter and james cotton. with buddy guy on guitar as well this lp is a real gem especially good morning school girl. i would recomend also getting "the best of the vanguard years" on ace records.The Best of the Vanguard Years
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on 6 November 2010
With the breathtaking assistance of the bassplayer and drummer, Junior Wells and Buddy Guy play the blues so that you feel you are right inside the engine of a motor bike. This works amazingly well for one album, but could never last as a continuing performance style. Worth having; brilliant in its own way; never to be copied or tried again. Worth having as stunning one-off!
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