Saturday, March 24, 2012

223 Howlin Wolf. The Boy who howled Wolf.

Album: Howlin Wolf
Artist: Howlin Wolf
Year: 1962
Genre: Blues


  1. Shake for Me
  2. The Red Rooster
  3. You'll Be Mine
  4. Who's Been Talkin'
  5. Wang Dang Doodle
  6. Little Baby
  7. Spoonful
  8. Going Down Slow
  9. Down in the Bottom
  10. Back Door Man
  11. Howlin' for My Baby
  12. Tell Me

As we wander up the charts we're gradually ticking off the great bluesmen as we come to them. We've had some Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker and now it's Howlin Wolf's turn to have one of his collections pop up. It's obligatory at this point to mention how infuential they were on the rest of the collection. Robert Plant often broke into Shake for Me when onstage with Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones played Little Red Rooster often, Cream used to rip into Spoonful, The Grateful Dead had a few attempts at Little Red Rooster and Wang Dang Doodle and Back Door Man provided the inspiration for Frank Zappa's final verses of The Illinois Enema Bandit. This is one of those releases that isn't just here on it's own right it's here because there are large slabs of the countdown that wouldn't be here if it hadn't existed.

The casual listener might have trouble distinguishing Howlin Wolf from his contemporaries like Muddy Waters. The Wolf lacks Muddy's soulful voice and dulcet tones. In fact it's true to say he does sound kind of lupine. If a wolf could siddle up to a microphone and lead a blues band in a dirty session then this is what they'd sound like. If you've always been curious about the great bluesmen who influence the rock and roll you enjoy today then this (along with the other blues albums on the countdown) is a great place to hear what made Jagger, Page, Clapton etc want to start a band all those years ago.

Highlight: Wang Dang Doodle
Lowlight: Tell Me

Influenced by: Willie Dixon (who wrote most of the songs)
Influenced: White boys with guitars who changed rock and roll forever

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Next to this, Jim Morrison sounds like a belching frat boy."

-Belching? That's the first time I've heard anyone put down Jim with a reference to his bodily eructations.

So when a boy howls wolf do you come running or ignore them completely? Let me know below.

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