Johnny Shines with Big Walter Horton

Johnny Shines with Big Walter Horton

by Johnny Shines


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Johnny Shines with Big Walter Horton

Calling an album one the best in this particular genre, Chicago blues, is a pretty big move. There are plenty of masters of this particular form, and the success of several different record companies recording the genre over the years has assured no shortage of material. Something just comes together splendidly on these sessions that elevates this album well above the level of even some of the great Chicago sides of artists such as Muddy Waters. It might not exude the timeless gold dust of such records, but at the same time has a raw energy and breathless courage that goes well beyond anything the Chess label got on tape in its studios. The sound is also richly thick and loaded with midrange overtones. This benefits not only bass sounds but the presence of the drummers as well. Outrageous drum breaks are one byproduct, and the listener might even sense the ensemble somehow about to topple before everything comes together at the slightest chicken scratch of Johnny Shines' electric guitar. Bringing that subject up: in the late '60s, this artist had yet to start developing his acoustic country blues phase and was playing the electric as if a concrete pick had been welded to his hand. One can only imagine an uptight recording engineer fussing with this sound, trying get something slicker and more professional. Thankfully, the recording teams in charge of this blues masterpiece don't indulge in the quiver, shiver, and shake mentality and just let the sounds go down, including this Shines guitar sound, which is almost more like a living creature scratching at the insides of the speaker box like a misdirected rodent. We are approaching guitar heaven, but it vaults over the gates with the appearance of Luther Allison, whose meaty, juicy tone is the perfect contrast for Shines. This album collects tracks from two different recording sessions a few years apart. Allison is present for only one of the sessions, but the harmonica genius Big Walter Horton is on both dates, flooding the bandstand with chordal cascades and even bringing a frightening edge to some cuts with distorted vocalese. This is not only a great blues record, it is a great party blues record.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/21/1995
Label: Hightone Records
UPC: 0012928501521
catalogNumber: 5015
Rank: 93043

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Johnny Shines   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Luther Allison   Guitar
Big Walter Horton   Harmonica,Vocals,Track Performer
Lee Jackson   Bass
Fred Below   Drums
Bill Brown   Drums
Otis Spann   Piano
Bill Brown & His Brownies   Drums
Prince Candy   Bass

Technical Credits

Bruce Bromberg   Engineer,Reissue Producer
Norman Dayron   Engineer
Mark Linett   Remixing
Frank Scott   Engineer,Reissue Producer
Brian C. Walls   Art Direction
Pete Welding   Producer,Engineer

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