Buddy and the Juniors

[Verve/Hip-O Select]

“Why don’t we play some blues?” Buddy Guy proposes by way of kicking off this 1970 curiosity, now issued domestically on CD for the first time. It’s an unplugged session born of differences between Guy and his record label, which led to the label refusing to provide the budget for a full recording band. So guitarist Guy, his longtime partner Junior Wells on harp, and jazz pianist Junior Mance got together, and this relaxed, spontaneous set was the result. The trio combined material conceived on the spot (“Riffin’ [A Motif Is Just a Riff],” “Talkin’ ’Bout Women Obviously”) with a clutch of standards (“Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Rock Me Mama,” a riff on Little Walter’s “It’s Too Late Brother” billed as “Ain’t No Need”). As is typically the case with this sort of affair, there are moments when things seem ready to go off the rails, but those moments don’t detract from its overall charm. –Stuart Munro

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