With his take-no-prisoners slide guitar style derived from Elmore James
and a primal, driving approach to the blues, J.B. Hutto
was a fixture in the Chicago clubs in the 1950s and 1960s, where he was often paired with the similar-sounding Hound Dog Taylor
. This set, which was recorded at Mother Blues on Wells Street in Chicago's Old Town section on December 17, 1966 (the final seven tracks come from a second session held on December 19 and 20, 1972, at Sound Studios), is typical of Hutto
's barn-burning style, with ragged, explosive slide runs curling around his raw, nearly incomprehensible vocals (not that the Hawk's meaning was ever unclear), and the end effect is bit like having a bulldozer blast through your head. Among the highlights here are the opener, "Evening Train," "Hawk's Rock" (an instrumental that is about as subtle as Hutto
ever got), the monster "Hip Shakin'" (the version here was used on his album Hawk Squat
), "Precious Stone," and "Young Hawk's Crawl," although the whole disc is of a piece, a full-throttle charge through some vintage Chicago guitar blues, and since Hutto
never strayed from his ragged and gut-bucket approach to things, this set makes as fine an introduction to his slide fireworks as any.