如果说口琴适于布鲁斯而萨克斯适于爵士，那么Junior Wells就是bebop后的传奇，是一个伟大的布鲁斯演奏家。他与James Cotton一样是在40年代晚期、50年代早期成长于芝加哥的最后一代乐手，那时布鲁斯音乐因为John Lee Williamson、Rice Miller、 Little Walter 和 Walter Horton而繁荣。1952年Junior 在他19岁时代替了Little Walter在Muddy Waters乐队中的位置。那时Wells已经是个老手了，他早在14岁时就与Tampa Red， Big Maceo和Johnnie Jones在Chicago南方的俱乐部演奏。在Waters乐队初次登台前，他是著名的Four Aces乐队的成员，那是一个富于创新的、敢想敢干的布鲁斯乐队，另几个成员是Louis、Dave Myers和鼓手Fred Below。在20年代早期他为States Records录音， States Records的背后有Elmore James， Otis Spann， Willie Dixon， Johnnie Jones 和Muddy Waters这些大名鼎鼎的人物。 Wells 在Waters 的乐队一直干到50年代后期，之后他有了自己的乐队并形成了自己的风格。许多年里他独特风格的演出一直吸引着很多著名的布鲁斯音乐人。1965年他为Delmark Records录制了自己的第一张专辑，那是一张里程碑式的唱片：Hoodoo Man Blues。它是芝加哥布鲁斯艺人的第一张专辑，也是第一张录下了那个时期原始的酒馆式的布鲁斯声音的专辑。同年，Butterfield布鲁斯乐队专辑的成功扩大了Wells的演出范围，他开始为大学里的白人听众演出，在音乐大厅演出，也开始了巡演。1970年他与Buddy Guy组合，最终开创了Rolling Stones 并在Montreal爵士音乐节上录制了至今仍被视为经典的现场专辑Drinkin' TNT Smokin Dynamite。它是1974年最好的10张专辑之一。在长期的演出生涯里他录制了大量的唱片，曾被尊称为布鲁斯上帝。Junior Wells 是真正的芝加哥布鲁斯的传奇之一。
He was one bad dude, strutting across the stage like a harp-toting gangster, mesmerizing the crowd with his tough-guy antics and rib-sticking Chicago blues attack. Amazingly, Junior Wells kept at precisely this sort of thing for over 40 years — he was an active performer from the dawn of the 1950s to his death in the late 90s.
Born in Memphis, Wells learned his earliest harp licks from another future legend, Little Junior Parker, before he came to Chicago at age 12. In 1950, the teenager passed an impromptu audition for guitarists Louis and David Myers at a house party on the South side, and the Deuces were born. When drummer Fred Below came aboard, they changed their name to the Aces.
Little Walter left Muddy Waters in 1952 (in the wake of his hit instrumental, Juke), and Wells jumped ship to take his place with Waters. That didnt stop the Aces (who joined forces with Little Walter) from backing Wells on his initial sessions for States Records, though — his debut date produced some seminal Chicago blues efforts, including his first reading of Hoodoo Man, a rollicking Cut That Out, and the blazing instrumentals Eagle Rock and Juniors Wail.
More fireworks ensued the next year when he encored for States with a mournful So All Alone and the jumping Lawdy! Lawdy! (Muddy Waters moonlighted on guitar for the session). Already Wells was exhibiting his tempestuous side — he was allegedly AWOL from the Army at the time.
In 1957, Wells hooked up with producer Mel London, who owned the Chief and Profile logos. The association resulted in many of Wellss most enduring sides, including I Could Cry and the rock & rolling Lovey Dovey Lovely One in 1957; the grinding national R&B hit Little by Little (with Willie Dixon providing vocal harmony) in 1959, and the R&B-laced classic Messin with the Kid in 1960 (sporting Earl Hookers immaculate guitar work). Wellss harp was de-emphasized during this period on record in favor of his animated vocals.
With Bob Koester producing, the harpist cut an all-time classic LP for Delmark in 1965. Hoodoo Man Blues vividly captured the feel of a typical Wells set at Theresas Lounge, even though it was cut in a studio. With Buddy Guy (initially billed as Friendly Chap due to his contract with Chess) providing concise lead guitar, Wells laid down definitive versions of Snatch It Back and Hold It, You Dont Love Me, and Chittlin Con Carne.
The harpist made his second appearance on the national R&B lists in 1968 with a funky James Brown-tinged piece, Youre Tuff Enough, for Mercurys feisty Blue Rock logo. Wells had been working in this bag for some time, alarming the purists but delighting R&B fans; his brass-powered 1966 single for Bright Star, Up in Heah, had previously made a lot of local noise.
After a fine mid-70s set for Delmark (On Tap), little was heard from Wells on vinyl for an extended spell, though he continued to enjoy massive appeal at home (Theresas was his principal haunt for many a moon) and abroad (whether on his own or in partnership with Guy; they opened for the Rolling Stones on one memorable tour and cut an inconsistent but interesting album for Atco in the early 70s).
Toward the end of his career, Wells just didnt seem to be into recording anymore; a pair of sets for Telarc in the early 90s were major disappointments, but his last studio session, 1997s Come on in This House, found him on the rebound and the critics noticed — the album won the W.C. Handy Blues Award for Traditional Blues Album in 1997. Even when he came up short in the studio, Wells remained a potent live attraction, cutting a familiar swaggering figure, commanding the attention of everyone in the room with one menacing yelp or a punctuating blast from his amplified harmonica. He continued performing until he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in the summer of 1997. That fall, he suffered a heart attack while undergoing treatment, sending him into a coma. Wells stayed in the coma until he passed away on January 15, 1998. A handful of compilations were released shortly after his death, as was the film Blues Brothers 2000, which featured a cameo by Wells.