Unquestionably one of the most influential singer / songwriter / performers of the post-war Chicago Blues explosion, Howlin’ Wolf – AKA Chester Burnett – bestrode the music like a veritable colossus, a physically imposing presence possessed of a talent commensurate to his size.
Wolf had a feral roar of a voice, and his music was to exert a powerful influential pull on scores of British rhythm and blues bands of the 1960s, such as The Rolling Stones (their cover of Wolf’s ‘Little Red Rooster’ was a massive transatlantic hit for the band), The Yardbirds (Wolf’s ‘Smokestack Lightning’ was a signature song in their live set), Cream (‘Spoonful’ was one of their live fave rave-ups), the Jeff Beck Group (‘I Ain’t Superstitious’), and on through the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin to the present day.
By 1951, Wolf came to the attention of Ike Turner, then a freelance talent scout working in the West Memphis area, who in turn brought him to the attention of Sam Phillips, then running a set up called the Memphis Recording Service, although he would shortly instigate the legendary Sun Records label. Wolf would end up recording for Phillips, and the Bihari Brothers at Modern Records. Of greater import was his signing to the Chess Records label in Chicago in 1952.
It was for the label that Howlin’ Wolf would cut his definitive recordings, slabs of wax that would go on to be rightly acknowledged as Chicago Blues classics. This double CD set features recordings that go back to the late forties, and run through the fifties and early sixties, and chart the development of one of the stellar blues performers of all time.
Label website: https://www.facebook.com/Indiscreet-PR-115878775180144/wall/
‘How Many More Years’ – live in the studio: