beatbo Posted March 24, 2009 Share Posted March 24, 2009 so many sessions on you-tube have been recently spent searching for the howlin' wolf. as i now sit in a time where the blues sound slick, over-produced, tame, and yes, white...it only takes a single howlin' wolf performance to bring the blues back home to mississippi for me (via west memphis and chicago). the wolf-1966 howlin' wolf was born chester burnett on june 10, 1910 in white station, mississippi. not the delta, several counties from it, very close to west point. the trauma borne by chester in his early life pierced a window in his soul, allowing all the rage, passion, pain, and intensity to rumble deep in his chest. the wolf howled his way through jim crow, fish parties and juke joints, he rambled all over the delta, playing with son house, robert johnson, willie brown, both sonny boys (but sharing sisters with sonny boy 2/rice miller) and gripping the most indigenous music in america to his fist, only to let it out onstage on a saturday night, shaking the floorboards in every blues joint with his voice, guitar, harp, and size 16 feet. i'll be back someday west memphis-1948. the town is wide open. beale ain't got nothin' on 8th street. wolf gets himself known on the radio KWM, and proceeds to put together the first great electric blues band: the houserockers. willie johnson, matt 'guitar' murphy, junior parker, willie steele, pat hare and james cotton. if muddy was doing it in chicago, the wolf was doing it and more of it at the same time in west memphis. two recordings burst into the daylight from the dark memphis studio soon to be known as 'sun'. sam phillips regretted losing the wolf to chess more than elvis to rca. 'moaning at midnight' and 'how many more years' were to be the first 2 of many classics to form a canon and you could hear wolf on the radio, watch him drive his two-tone desoto with placard on the side down the street, or head over to watch his band tear it up live on 8th street. hubert sumlin did when he was only 12 and fell through the window. wolf let him sit onstage until he was through and then took him home to his mother and said "don't beats him. this boy got the music in him..." evil chicago-1953. this town is so ripe with great mississippi-born music that it falls from the trees all over the south side. chess records, silvio's, the zanzibar (there were two zanzibars- one on paulina and one on the westside: ashland and 13th) and the 708 club. wolf's new record deal at chess somehow put's him in muddy water's basement. the two greats had never played together but they certainly knew each others music. portrayed as great rivals (and they were very competitive) neither could stand in the other's way. where muddy might let his great band play for 30-45 minutes before he took the stage, the wolf would play a harp with his mouth and a harp with his nose at the same time. you got your money's worth with both bands but wolf always gave extra... killing floor his second great band: called from arkansas-the still young hubert sumlin. jody williams, earl phillips, hosea lee kennard cut heads with the best of them. great records followed: smokestack lightning, evil, little red rooster, spoonful, killing floor, many written for him by willie dixon (and more than a couple stole from him by wille!) the wolf conquered chicago and played blues and folk clubs all through the 50's and 60's. the impact of the man on rock music is undeniable. the rolling stones insisted that he appear on 'shindig' with them, hendrix, zeppelin, clapton and many more covered his work and wolf enjoyed popularity right up until his last show in 1975 at the chicago amphitheater. with heart problems and failing kidneys, wolf had to get out of his sickbed for this show and gave the audience everything they had heard about. after a majestic performance, paramedics were called to revive him. he died two months later. i can't leave without pointing out one of the greatest blues guitar players ever. hubert sumlin was like a son to the wolf and was a stalwart player for many sides and many singers. but wolf an him, they are together special, man. to all of those searching for the real blues, with roots all the way back to the porch in mississippi, learn how to howl..... smokestack lightning backdoorman how many more years Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.