Who was/is Howlin' Wolf ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

Howlin' Wolf

For a guy who didn't see the inside of a recording studio until he was 40 years old, Chester Arthur Burnett certainly made up for lost time. Of course, the giant known as Howlin' Wolf possessed the most fearsome, feral vocal cords in the annals of electric postwar blues. His wheezing harmonica was as distinctive as his unbeatable flair for showmanship; he routinely rolled around the stage in simulation of sexual ecstasy or climbed the stage curtains like a deranged madman.

"Wolf was the greatest that I've ever known," says his longtime saxist Eddie Shaw. "Wolf was not only a musician, he was an entertainer. That's what I respected him for."

Born June 10, 1910 in White Station, Mississippi (near West Point), Burnett got his stage moniker from his grandfather (the impressively built lad also answered to Big Foot and Bullcow). His family settled in the Delta in 1923, and the great Charley Patton gave him personal tutelage on guitar in '28. Chester picked up harmonica licks from Rice Miller—Sonny Boy Williamson #2—when the harpist was romancing Wolf's sister. He was playing electric guitar on the streets as early as 1938. After returning from an ill-fated Army stint during World War II, the big man got more serious about his music, landing a daily 15-minute program on KWEM in West Memphis in 1949. Sam Phillips caught one of Wolf's broadcasts and was transfixed.

Phillips brought Wolf into his fledgling Memphis Recording Service in the spring of 1951 for a demo date. Sam shipped the results up north to Chess, which requested a full session in either May or August. Accompanying Wolf was his sledgehammer guitarist Willie Johnson, a product of Lake Cormorant, Mississippi (he was born March 4, 1923) who played pretty ninth chords one second and barbed-wire leads the next. Also on hand were drummer Willie Steele and a pianist. How Many More Years and its eerie plattermate Moanin' At Midnight were cut at that first date, and both pierced the R&B charts on Chess, How Many peaking higher at #4. 

Meanwhile, Ike Turner had hipped the Bihari brothers to Wolf's talents and they pacted him to RPM, setting up a session at KWEM that September that yielded Morning At Midnight (Moanin' At Midnight in paper-thin disguise), a How Many More Years variant titled Dog Me Around, and two more titles. "The Modern record company would come in, and we would record the same songs for them and get 25 bucks apiece," said Turner. With Wolf now also on RPM, the feud between Leonard Chess and Modern's Bihari brothers ramped up. The battle was ultimately settled the next year when Modern held on to Memphis pianist Rosco Gordon (another Phillips discovery claimed by both labels) while the Wolf went to Chess. Great as Rosco was, looks like Leonard won that round.

 

Bill Dahl
Chicago, Illinois

PLUG IT IN! TURN IT UP!

Electric Blues 1939-2005. - The Definitive Collection!

 

More information about Howlin' Wolf on Wikipedia.org

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The Howlin' Wolf Anthology (2-CD) Howlin' Wolf: The Howlin' Wolf Anthology (2-CD) Art-Nr.: CD9835012

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(2007/Universal) 48 tracks - Officially released 2-CD set, a comprehensive collection of his Chess 45s. Superb sound quality.
$16.54
Killing Floor: Blues Essentials Howlin' Wolf: Killing Floor: Blues Essentials Art-Nr.: LPCLP6796

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(2011/STARDUST) 11 tracks 1950/60s
$22.07
Just Like I Treat You - Do The Do 7inch, 45rpm Howlin' Wolf: Just Like I Treat You - Do The Do 7inch, 45rpm Art-Nr.: REP08022

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Super rare on original! Nice blues rocker!
$12.11
Smoke Stack Lightning b-w You Can't Be Beat 7inch, 45rpm Howlin' Wolf: Smoke Stack Lightning b-w You Can't Be Beat... Art-Nr.: REP08056

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Repro! Chess 45 1618
$11.01
Big City Blues (LP, 180g Vinyl) Howlin' Wolf: Big City Blues (LP, 180g Vinyl) Art-Nr.: LP772083

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(2016/Waxtime) 13 tracks, recorded for 'RPM' between 1951 and 1953! Reproduction of the original 1962 'Crown' album plus five bonus tracks! Howlin' Wolf (voacals and harmonica), Ike Turner (piano), Willie Johnson (guitar) and Willie...
$22.07
Blues With A Beat (LP, 10inch) Howlin' Wolf: Blues With A Beat (LP, 10inch) Art-Nr.: LPCHESS1002

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(2018/Minigroove) 12 tracks - Another 10incher in the 'Minigroove' series by Howlin' Wolfr which never was issued originally that way! The sound is fantastic and the whole thing is a a real treat to listen to! Get your copy today!
$19.86
Blues Forever - The Best Of Howlin' Wolf (CD) Howlin' Wolf: Blues Forever - The Best Of Howlin' Wolf (CD) Art-Nr.: CD68034

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(SAAR srl) 16 tracks - original recordings from 1951-1952, made at Sun Studios, Memphis!
$8.80 $17.65
His Greatest Sides Vol.1 (LP) Howlin' Wolf: His Greatest Sides Vol.1 (LP) Art-Nr.: LPCH9107

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(Chess) 14 tracks - Original 1954 to 1965 'Chess' recordings Howlin' Wolf (10. Juni 1910 - 10. Januar 1976) Howlin' Wolf war in jeder Hinsicht einer der ganz grossen Bluessänger - als Entertainer, als Individuum und als Bluesmann war er...
$19.86
Moanin' In The Moonlight (LP, 180g Vinyl) Howlin' Wolf: Moanin' In The Moonlight (LP, 180g Vinyl) Art-Nr.: LP78743

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(Universal/Geffen) 12 tracks - Re-issue of the original 1958 'Chess' LP album
$36.45
How Many More Years - Moanin' At Midnight (7inch, 45rpm, RSD) Howlin' Wolf: How Many More Years - Moanin' At Midnight... Art-Nr.: 45TMR528

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(Third Man Records) Record Store Day November 2018 Recorded at Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service at the recommendation of Ike Turner in July 1951, this incredibly influential single is the first ever 7" from legendary bluesman...
$14.33
Best Of The Sun Records Sessions (LP) Howlin' Wolf: Best Of The Sun Records Sessions (LP) Art-Nr.: LPORGM2071

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(Org Music) 14 tracks Howlin' Wolf recorded some of his best songs during a stay in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1951 to 1952 with legendary Sun Records producer and founder Sam Phillips. This album summarizes a selection of the very best...
$27.60 $33.13
Off The Record (CD) Howlin' Wolf: Off The Record (CD) Art-Nr.: CD026028

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(CHESS) 12 tracks
$22.07