Tag Archives: Junior Wells

Amanda Love: You Keep Calling Me By Her Name.

 

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(above,  45 sleeve art by Johnny Spencer. for more on him, click here)

Not a lot is known about Amanda Love (which is probably an alias). What I do know is that she put out this bluesy number on Mel London’s Starville label about 1967. Mel London was a Chicago songwriter/producer/record label owner who was instrumental in launching the careers of Junior Wells and Ricky Allen.

Amanda Love’s record “You Keep Calling Me by Her Name” is the sort of record that swung in many a South Side tavern here in Chicago. It sort of sounds like the result of if Nancy Wilson had come to Chicago to record back then: polished vocals atop a rough and ready track. Jive on!

 


Ricky Allen: He can’t stand no signifying… come to think of it, me either.

signifying (verb): a good-natured needling or goading especially among urban blacks by means of indirect gibes and clever often preposterous put-downs

-Webster’s Dictionary

Ricky Allen recorded the booming groover “I Can’t Stand No Signifying” on Jack Daniels’ West Side-based Four Brothers label round about 1966. Both Jack Daniels and Johnny Moore (the co-writer on this track) created blues-soaked soul cuts for a number of artists, including Junior Wells, throughout the late 1960s.

Ricky Allen, a native Nashvillian, came to Chicago in 1958, and was very popular on the blues club circuit in the 1960s. One of his songs, Mel London’s “Cut You A-Loose” charted on the R&B Charts in 1963, and even got heavy airplay on Top 40 pop station WLS. Allen recounted in a 1993 Chicago Tribune interview with Bill Dahl:

“I got back, man, WLS – they didn’t play no blues. (But) Every time you turned on the station, it was on.”

“Signifying” has got exactly the sock it to me-slash-somebody’s ’bout to get cut vibe I love.  To me, this gritty music is the link between the blues brought North in a satchel during the Great Migration and the glossier Chicago Soul (complete with lush strings and horns) that came later. Gotta love that piano riff at the top. Jive on.


You’re Tuff Enough: junior wells’ new breed blues

  • The title cut off this 1968 album is a bluesy monster produced by Charles Stepney with more than enough groove to stay squarely in the pocket.  Also on this album is the local hit “Up in Heah”, another blues-infused party track.  Both of the records will make sceptics rethink the blues. According to the back of the album:

“Talk about somebody being “tuff” enough. One night in Pepper’s Lounge, a little night spot on Chicago’s South Side, Junior Wells was introduced as “the little Giant of the blues”. It was around midnight and the Chatter that had been incessant for about three hours ceased. In cool dignity the little black walked to the stage, and said: “I’m gonna sing them damn blues, and you’d better dig it.” This audience at Pepper’s where all the blues greats have passed through and left their mark, is as hip an audience as any performer ever faced. When you bring them slow blues it better be nasty, and when you swing it better make them move. Shoot blanks and you won’t last long. Junior Wells could stay there eternally. “

–David Llorens

 

 


Messin With the Kid: The Update

Kiddieland-8-24-2008-1

It’s the time of the season for italian ices, blowing bubbles, and visits to amusement parks.  But it’s a sad day in Melrose Park, for this is the first summer in eighty years without Kiddieland.  No little train.  No cotton candy.  But all is not lost….. 

Originally published Labor Day Weekend 2009:

After Eighty Years, Kiddieland of Melrose Park closes to the public this weekend.  A rift between two branches of one extended family tore beyond repair, resulting in the closing (one branch owns the park, while one owns the land the park is built on [and didn’t extend the park’s lease]). Many of the rides were well over fifty years old, and all of them in emmaculate condition. What a loss.

In memorium, Darkjive presents Chicago’s own Junior Wells with a 1972 version of “Messing With the Kid”.  Goodbye Little Dipper! Goodbye Tilt-a whirl!

little dipper30

UPDATE: As of Memorial Day Weekend 2010, the original Little Dipper will make its home at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee (North of Chicago).  Hurrah!


Messing With the Kid

 Kiddieland-8-24-2008-1

After Eighty Years, Kiddieland of Melrose Park closes to the public this weekend.  A rift between two branches of one extended family tore beyond repair, resulting in the closing (one branch owns the park, while one owns the land the park is built on [and didn’t extend the park’s lease]). Many of the rides were well over fifty years old, and all of them in emmaculate condition. What a loss.

In memorium, Darkjive presents Chicago’s own Junior Wells with a 1972 version of “Messing With the Kid”.  Goodbye Little Dipper! Goodbye Tilt-a whirl!

little dipper30

UPDATE: As of Memorial Day Weekend 2010, the original Little Dipper will make its home at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee (North of Chicago).  Hurrah!