Keep on Steppin': The Best of Junior Wellsby Junior Wells
The title's a bit of a ringer here; this is actually what Telarc considers the best tracks Wells recorded for their label between 1993 and 1997 -- music taken from his last four albums before his untimely death in early 1998. Wells won a fair amount of trophies with this quartet of albums, and while the material isn't anything that's going to make hardline fans want to toss out their copies of Hoodoo Man Blues, the music and production are exemplary on every track. Guest appearances proliferate on every number and the work from Sonny Landreth, John Mooney, Derek Trucks, Lucky Peterson, Corey Harris, Bob Margolin, and Carlos Santana keeps these tunes on a firmly contemporary footing.
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This work of Junior Wells later in his career is quite impressive & satisfying from an artistic jazz vocal perspective, & this is also one of Telarc's better quality jazz releases from a sound quality viewpoint. The clarity, instrumental & vocal balance, extension & tightness of bass, & the imaging precision & overall presence are all very good. This is more than can be said of many relatively modern recordings which can sound slightly muddy & bass heavy in comparison, including some of Telarc's other jazz releases. The excellent track "Use Me" could easily be a showcase demonstration recording for any speaker manufacturer, it is that good. Overall, this was a very good value CD. I can confidently recommend it.