Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Harmonica of Junior Wells

On the album cover of Junior Wells' "Hoodoo Man Blues", the great bluesman recalls how he got his first harmonica, back in 1948. The instrument that would make him famous as one of the best blues instrumentalists of all time.

This is what he said:

 "I went to this pawnshop downtown and the man had a harmonica priced at $2.00. I got a job on a soda truck... played hookey (*) from school ... worked all week and on Saturday the man gave me a dollar and a half. A dollar and a half! For a whole week of work. I went to the pawnshop and the man said the price was two dollars. I told him I had to have that harp. He walked away from the counter -- left the harp there. So I laid my dollar-and-a-half on the counter and picked up the harp. When my trial came up, the judge asked my why I did it. I told him I had to have that harp. The judge asked me to play it and when I did he gave the man the 50 cents and hollered "Case dismissed!" 

There was only one condition for Junior Wells' court case dismissal. He would have to send a copy of his first album to the Judge. 

(*) "Playing hookey": Skipping school or work.

Listen to:
Junior Wells - Help the Poor (Live in Hambourg 1975)

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