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Historic "Buddy & The Juniors" Available at Hip-O Select, Retails June 28

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In 1969, guitarist Buddy Guy got together with his old Chicago blues buddy Junior Wells, added in jazz pianist Junior Mance, and cut a loose, “unplugged" session for Blue Thumb Records that became the now-legendary album Buddy And The Juniors. Now, on the occasion of Buddy Guy's 75th birthday, the album makes its first-ever domestic CD release on the Verve label via Hip-oSelect.com, digitally remastered from the original analog master tape reels. Michael Cuscuna, the album's original producer, supervised the reissue and wrote new liner notes detailing the album's genesis.

Buddy And The Juniors only happened because Buddy Guy was out of options with Vanguard (his previous label) and he trusted Cuscuna, a 20-year-old student he'd befriended, to help him. At the guitarist's request Cuscuna had co-produced the final Vanguard album, but the label refused to pay travel costs for Buddy to supervise the mixing in New York. So Cuscuna turned to a friend at Blue Thumb, which was a bit more daring, and a budget to record—for just one day and without a full band—was okayed.

“Buddy's charm and laid-back manner turned the studio into a back porch atmosphere," Cuscuna, now a three-time Grammy® winner, writes in the package's liner notes. “Junior Mance was... clearly enjoying this back-to-the-roots experience and loved watching the two blues masters interact. Junior Wells was not a particularly social creature and certainly not a master of small talk... so Mance was deferential, Wells was reticent, I was in over my head and Buddy was in control. He was breaking more ice than a bartender at an Irish wedding."

Buddy and the two Juniors were relaxed, cutting familiar tunes like Willie Dixon's “Hoochie Coochie Man" and their own off-the-cuff originals, including “Buddy's Blues" and two improvised tracks recorded in a single burst of creative energy: “Talkin' 'Bout Women Obviously" and “Riffin.'" It made for a fresh, inviting album that has finally received a proper CD reissue.

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