Having visited Tennessee on holiday a few years prior and visiting Sun Studios, MCA Studios and the County & Music Hall of Fame I eventually decided to investigate Howlin' Wolf. This was due in part to a friend playing me Smokestack Lightnin', and also because I knew that he heavily influenced two of my all-time favourite artists (Tom Waits and Clutch). It's easy to see why. The blues on display here is primal and raw in some instances, but still hugely memorable and catchy. The musicianship ain't bad either.
This CD proved how great Chester Burnett (AKA Howlin' Wolf) truly was. I can imagine that watching him live must have been truly awesome; videos are readily available on Youtube that attest to his phenomenal stage presence.
Anyway, on to the CD. As is mentioned in all the other reviews, this CD comprises of his first two LP releases (though I believe a few tracks have been sacrificed). Given that this disc contains the original recordings, the music does not have the immaculate sheen that those raised in the 90s and 2000s may have come to expect. However, in my opinion this does nothing to detract from the quality music. In fact in many ways it suits the dirty blues being played.
Personally I prefer the first half of this CD, though I do enjoy it in its entirety. Particular highlights: shake for me, red rooster, who's been talkin', wang dang doodle, little baby, spoonful, howlin' for my darlin/baby, smokestack lightnin', evil.
Highly recommended to those of us who enjoy the more rough and rugged side of the blues.
- Audio CD (27 April 1987)
- Original Release Date: 1 January 1987
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Audiobook, CD, Import
- Label: GEFFEN
- Run Time: 64 minutes
- ASIN: B000002O3I
- Customer Reviews: 95 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,097 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)