Big Golden Wheeler – Turn My Life Around
In the 90’s Big Wheeler… was a friend of the great “Jimmy Johnson”. Jimmy himself produced a CD that Big Wheeler could sell from stage. Wolf Records received this CD from Big Wheeler himself to publish it but just one year ago Jimmy and Wolf Records made an agreement to release it. There are 8 songs by Big Wheeler and one instrumental by Jimmy Johnson himself (“Blue Guitar”). And all sidemen instruments were played by Jimmy himself.
There are also two recordings from a record session in 1989 with the Wolf All Star Blues Band including John Primer, Willie Kent & Tim Taylor.
Enjoy!! That CD is the real ‘Chicago Blues Deal’!
1. The Sun Is Shining - 5:24 2. Dirty Blues - 7:00 3. I Got To Go - 4:12 4. Good Lover - 5:21 5. Blue Guitar - 5:37 6. Hey Short Woman - 8:09 7. Crazy 'bout You Baby - 3:03 8. Hard Luck Blues - 5:48 9. Honey Connie - 6:03 10. Turn My Life Around - 6:15 11. V.J It's O.k. - 4:13
Golden Wheeler (harmonica, vocals) , Jimmy Johnson (guitar, bass, keyboard) , Luther Adams / John Primer (guitar on 4,7) , Willie Kent (bass on 4,7) , Timothy Taylor (drums on 4,7)
1. lahoradelblues.com - 2017.05.30
Big Golden Wheeler nació en 1929 en Georgia. Desde muy niño sintió una enorme pasión por el blues pero no fue hasta principio de los años cincuenta en que Wheeler empezó a tocar. En aquella época conducía un taxi y uno de sus clientes habituales era el cantante y armonicista Buster Brown. Buster solía cantar y tocar la armónica durante los trayectos en taxi. Wheeler se animaba también a cantar, por lo que Buster le convenció a que probara fortuna. Finalmente se trasladó a la meca del blues, Chicago, donde en un abrir y cerrar de ojos formó su primera banda. Allí conoció a Junior Wells quien le enseñó algunos trucos con la armónica, aunque Wheeler siempre se consideró un autodidacta del instrumento ya que nunca quiso imitar a nadie. En los años noventa inició una amistad con Jimmy Johnson quien le produjo este álbum que Wheeler solía vender en todas sus actuaciones. Esta grabación llegó a manos de Hannes Folterbauer propietario de Wolf Records quien lo ha reeditado recientemente. Este disco contiene once canciones, una de ellas es un instrumental interpretado por el propio Jimmy Johnson, quien también colabora como guitarrista, bajista y teclista. Asimismo intervienen en un par de temas Luther Adams y John Primer a las guitarras y Willie Kent al bajo, mientras Timothy Taylor se encarga de la batería. Si eres uno de esos fanáticos del genuino blues de Chicago de los años sesenta, éste es un disco que no debe faltar en tu colección. MUY BUENO.
Big Golden Wheeler was born In Georgia in 1929. Since he was a little boy, he passionately loved the blues but it was not until the beginning of the 50’s when Wheeler started to play. At that time he drove a cab and one of his regular customers was singer and harmonica player Buster Brown. Buster used to sing and play harmonica while riding in the cab and often they sang together, so Buster encouraged him to try in. Finally he moved to Chicago, where he immediately he formed his first band. There he met Junior Wells who taught him some harmonica tricks, although Wheeler always says he is a self-taught harmonica player, because he never tries to imitate any other harmonica players. During the 90’s he became Jimmy Johnson’s close friend. Johnson produced this album that Wheeler used to sell in all his shows. This recording came to Hannes Folterbauer’s hands and he has recently published a reissue for Wolf Records. The album includes eleven songs, one of them is an instrumental played by Jimmy Johnson himself, who has also done guitar, bass and keyboards work. You will also find in a couple of songs Luther Adams and John Primer on guitars and Willie Kent on bass, while Timothy Taylor is on drums. If you are one of those genuine 60’s Chicago blues fans, this is certainly an album that cannot be missing in your record collection. GREAT.
2. bluesblastmagazine.com – Colin Campbell – 2017.08.05
This is the third solo release by Chicago blues harmonica and vocalist Big Golden Wheeler. It was produced by and features fellow Chicago blues legend Jimmy Johnson on all backing instruments. Story goes they were big mates and Big Wheeler wanted something tangible to sell at gigs from the stage , originally it was made into a cassette. (Remember those happy memories?) Anyway Wolf Records got these old recordings from him and hence released them. His previous releases were on the Delmark record label called Bone Orchard in 1993 and Jump In in 1997.
Eight of the songs were written by Golden Wheeler himself. There are also two tracks from a session in 1989 with the Wolf All Star Blues Band featuring Luther Adams, John Primer, Willie Kent and Timothy Taylor. This is Chicago blues at its finest and dirtiest at times. This has all the hallmarks of someone who has been there done that and what a legacy.
Starting with the cover of Jimmy Reed’s “The Sun Is Shining” he makes his harmonica sound like a chirping bird. His voice has that well lived in drawl and fine keyboard playing on this. A real discovery for yours truly as really only know Jimmy as a brilliant blues guitarist. “Dirty Blues” the second track is a real favourite, mixing the talents of both artists forming a strong sound with great melodies. Wheeler pays homage to his idol Little Walter on his take of “I Got To Go” giving a jump jive effect with resonating harmonica tones. “Good Lover” keeps a slow groove going, introducing John Primer on lead guitar . There is a real organic sound to the production and recording, nothing fancy, just really pure and perfect. Undoubted standout track for guitar lovers is the instrumental “Blue Guitar” written by Earl Hooker and given the full Jimmy Johnson treatment, just mesmerising. The pace rolls on with the lazy blues of “Hey Short Woman”. The second session song, a cover of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Crazy Bout You Baby” has great guitar licks again with light drumming by Timothy Taylor.
“Hard Luck Blues” is a standard slow blues take on the old Roy Brown number which rolls along smoothly. His own “Honey Connie” is uptempo about a girl he used to know and sounds full of character. Title track “Turn My Life Around” mixes soulful lyrics to a funky beat full of redemption and self reflection. The final track “V.J. It’s O.K” has a more honky tonk blues piano feel to leave the listener smiling.
Altogether this release is a masterclass in Chicago Blues playing by two musicians worthy of being called legends. It just sounds so good with lazy beats , consummate guitar playing and grinding harmonica riffs, a sure fire winner.
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