Junior Wells’ Chicago Blues Band – Hoo Doo Man Blues

By Michael Rubin

Written by Michael Rubin on . Posted in Blog: Harmonica Articles, Harmonica Lessons, Harmonica Players

Here’s your chance to learn, listen or jam along with the songs from Hoo Doo Man Blues by Junior Wells.

I’ve included which key harmonicas you’ll need below the videos. (Note: apologies if these videos don’t play in your country, that’s out of our control. If you’re in the US you should be able to view them fine 🙂 )

Almost all the songs use a D harmonica in 2nd position. Why?

  • Economics
  • Vocal range
  • High pitch
  • Higher harmonicas are faster.
  • Every key has a vibe. This unifies the vibe of the album.
  • Creates an identifiable sound.

Throughout the music we hear repetitive staccato notes with tongue articulation.
Hound Dog is a great example.

Hound Dog
Harmonica D
2nd Position
Key A

Listen to the drawn out notes with thick slow vibrato and a bit of dirt on Ships On The Ocean and throughout.

Ships On The Ocean (aka Just To Be With You)
Harmonica A
3rd Position
Key B

Wells often starts the songs on turnarounds giving a little bit of music, but not too much, before the vocals begin. Check out these tracks (complete with a repeating turnaround ending.)

Hoo Doo Man Blues
Harmonica D
2nd Position
Key A

Early in The Morning
Harmonica D
2nd Position
Key A

We’re Ready
Harmonica D
2nd Position
Key A

Yonder Wall
Harmonica D
2nd Position
Key A

Hoo Doo Man (alternate cut)
Harmonica D
2nd Position
Key A

Wells created a style of ending songs. The band dropped out and Wells plays fast, choppy out of time notes until he signals for the rest of the band to finish with a bang. Find examples on the tracks below. When a modern Harmonica player does this, he is definitely tipping the hat to the great Junior Wells.

Ships On The Ocean (aka Just To Be With You)
Harmonica A
3rd Position
Key B

You Don’t Love Me Baby
Harmonica D
2nd Position
Key A

Chitlin Con Carne
Harmonica D
2nd Position
Key A Minor

Chitlin Con Carne (alternate cut)
Harmonica D
2nd Position
Key A Minor

Below are the rest of the album’s tracks, ENJOY!

Scratch It Back and Hold It
Harmonica A
3rd Position
Key of B

Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
Harmonica D
2nd Position
Key A

In The Wee Hours
Harmonica 16 hole C Chromatic 3rd Position
and G 2nd Position
Key D

Hey Lawdy Mama
Harmonica D
2nd Position
Key A

Comments (2)

  • phil jackson

    |

    Vids don’ t seem to play in the UK No matter I have this on vinyl from 1966. Great album and I like your reflections. Will have to dig it out.

    Reply

    • JP Allen

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      Right on Phil! Hope you can unearth it. jp

      Reply

  • Ian wolf

    |

    Thanks this will help skills!

    Reply

  • Curly

    |

    Nice idea

    Reply

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