Record producer Bob Koester, the founder of Delmark Records who is credited with discovering Wells along with producer Sam Charters, recalls that at the time he was considering releasing an album by Wells, he was anxious about both the audience for Wells' music and the expense of studio time and sidemen, but that he liked the music too much to resist. Wells was given the liberty to select his own sidemen and track list, without the usual limitation of songs two or three minutes long, and the album that resulted became Delmark's then best-seller, a distinction that had not been surpassed as of 2003.
Koester remembers particular complications working with Guy, who was incorrectly believed to be legally entailed with Leonard Chess of Chess Records. Chess approved Guy's participation on the album, but refused to allow Guy's name to be listed in the credits until it was realized that his participation was not contractually disallowed. Guy was, at the time of release, credited as "Friendly Chap", a name proposed by Peter Brown, who later founded Down with the Game Records in the UK, with the explanation that "A buddy is a friend, a guy is a chap". For parts of the session, Guy's guitar amplifier was not working, and his guitar was wired instead through the Leslie speaker of the studio's Hammond organ. Koester said, "I've always been amazed at how rarely reviewers commented on the guitar-organ tracks".
Koester also recalls that 15 minutes of "releasable music", including a duet between Guy and Wells, was lost, with the tapes probably having been used later to record a rehearsal.
Wells related to the Chicago Tribune 1993 that the song from which the title of the album was drawn almost didn't make the album. He had recorded "Hoodoo Man Blues" on a 78 rpm record years before, but when the song was presented to radio personnel for possible rotation they had rejected it violently, throwing it on the floor and stomping on it. Wells, too disappointed to want to try again, credits Koester's encouragement with the song's presence on the album.