Thursday, November 26, 2009
Junior WELLS - You're Tuff Enough 1968
Another period of the veteran Chicago harp man's career that awaits CD documentation — and one of the most exciting. Wells's late-'60s output for Bright Star and Mercury's Blue Rock subsidiary frequently found him mining funky James Brown grooves (with a bluesy base, of course) to great effect — "Up in Heah" and his national smash "You're Tuff Enough" are marvelous examples of his refusal to bend to purists' wishes (though there's a glorious version of Bobby Bland's blues-soaked "You're the One" that benefits handily from Sammy Lawhorn's delicate guitar work).
By Bill Dahl.
Blues purists may feel like pulling their hair out upon hearing such a James Brown style funk album from Junior Wells, but those with an open mind may find Wells' fusion of funk and blues to be worth a listen. Sure its completely different from what we expect from the man, but the fact is that Junior Wells executes it so well you have to forgive him for his boldness is producing this type of project. No one before him has ever done such a fine job of combining the best of blues and funk into a single form, but here it flows well, aided by Wells outstanding harmonica lines. Though it can be a little to slick for its own good in places, it generally retains a consistant quality throughout. This is definatly not one for the purists and probably a bad idea if you're looking for a blues album. If, however, you are looking for funk-blues at its best, this is a fine disc.
By Alex "Harpskier"
Were it not for Junior Wells's superlative harmonica playing and expressive voice, You're Tuff Enough might have been a muddle of drums and horns. Wells, however, was a strong enough musician that it's he, not his backing band, that stands out most strongly on this recording. This recording illustrates Wells's prescience in incorporating elements of funk and rock into his music. Check out the James-Brown- inflected "Up in Heah," or the rock-out feel of the title track, which appeared on national R&B charts in 1968. One hears echoes of Brown on "You Ought to Quit That" as well. But Wells could sing the blues straight up as well, as he shows with a sweet rendition of "You're the One." While not quite the classic that 1965's Hoodoo Man Blues (which featured Buddy Guy on guitar) was, You're Tuff Enough is an excellent collection, one whose reissue on CD is long overdue.
By Genevieve Williams.
01. You're Tuff Enough 2:19
02. It's All Soul 2:25
03. Gonna Cramp Your Style 2:07
04. Where Did I Go Wrong 3:06
05. That'll Hold Me 2:17
06. Sweet Darling Think It Over 2:22
07. Up in Heah 2:01
08. You're the One 3:20
09. You Ought to Quit That 2:08
10. Messin' With the Kid 2:11
11. The Hippies Are Trying 4:09
12. Junior's Groove 2:14
13. Girl You Lit My 1:59
14. It's a Man Down There - Junior Wells, Crockett, G.L.
15. I'm Your Gravy Train 2:22
16. Leave My Woman Alone 2:53
17. I Can't Stand No Signifying 2:48
18. I Just Wanna Groove 2:43
19. You Better Watch Yourself 2:09
20. What Is That You Got 2:07
21. Another Mule Kicking in Your Stall 3:28
22. Party Power 2:14