Category Archives: HOWLIN’ WOLF

HOWLIN’ WOLF Moanin’ In The Moonlight – The Definitive Remastered Edition (2012)

FrontMoanin’ In The Moonlight – The Definitive Remastered Edition (2012)

I’m not sure what the story is on this release. It’s billed as “The Definitive Remastered Edition” of Howlin’ Wolf’s second essential Chess LP, Moanin’ In The Moonlight… with 15 bonus tracks. But, this 2012 issue isn’t commercially available in some of the normal outlets, and information about it seems to be scarce. Further, the bonus tracks aren’t actually from the Moanin’ In The Moonlight sessions, though… “sessions” is a loose term when it comes to Chess recordings, as many of these tracks are simply “singles sessions” that were gathered together to form LPs. So it would appear that this collection is just a shrewd marketing ploy (by a Euro label, Soul Jam) to gather together a “new” single disc collection of Wolf’s material… one that has already been covered by other comps and box sets, like the Complete Chess Masters 1951-1960, for instance (linked below). The first 12 tracks are Moanin’ In The Moonlight, while the rest is just as good, regardless of how they fit in. Since the price was right (wink), I bought in (figuratively speaking)… even though I already have all this elsewhere. You may not be as fanatical, though, and a single disc set might be right up your alley – seeing as every serious record collection on earth should have these sides sitting next to your favorite early British blues heroes. Since I’ve got it, you’ve got it now, too. Besides, this provides a good opportunity to point you to the archives for the Wolf lurking within; Ain’t Gonna Be Your Dog – Chess Collectibles, Vol. 2 (HERE) Complete Chess Masters 1951-1960 (HERE), Live In Europe 1964 (HERE), Memphis Days, Vols. 1 & 2 (HERE), The Howlin’ Wolf Album (1969, HERE) and The Chess Box (HERE).

Moanin’ At Midnight (2:56)
How Many More Years (2:40)
Smokestack Lightnin’ (3:06)
Baby, How Long (2:52)
No Place To Go (You Gonna Break My Life) (2:53)
All Night Boogie (2:12)
Evil (Is Goin’ On) (2:53)
I’m Leavin’ You (2:57)
Moanin’ For My Baby (2:47)
I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline) (2:49)
Forty-Four (2:47)
Somebody In My Home (2:24)
Bonus Tracks
Wang-Dang-Doodle (2:22)
Spoonful (2:43)
Howlin’ For My Darling (2:31)
Mr. Airplane Man (2:43)
Howlin’ Wolf Boogie (2:37)
Mr. Highway Man (2:46)
Oh Red (2:35)
Rockin’ Daddy (3:01)
So Glad (2:07)
Nature (2:45)
Who Will Be Next (2:32)
Going Back Home (2:39)
I’ll Be Around (3:11)
Sittin’ On Top Of The World (2:31)
Come To Me Baby (2:26)

MUDDY WATERS Electric Mud (1968)
HOWLIN’ WOLF The Howlin’ Wolf Album (1969)

MUDDY WATERS Electric Mud (1968)
HOWLIN’ WOLF The Howlin’ Wolf Album (1969)
Experiments In Psychedelia

The Chess Brothers, Leonard and Phil, kicked off the 1950s with a dedicated belief in the power of the blues, while their label, Chess Records, became the standard-bearer for independent blues around the world. But Leonard’s son, Marshall Chess, was just coming of age in the mid-1960s… and he was into psychedelic music. So, when Marshall formed his own offshoot label, Cadet Concept Records, he signed the psych-heavy Rotary Connection and enjoyed an encouraging degree of success selling the new music of the 60s. Then he had a brainstorm. He figured some of Chess’s old blues artists could be more relevant with musical updates, so he paired members of Rotary Connection (among others) with both Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf to create these two genre-clashing, stylistic Frankensteins, Electric Mud and The Howlin’ Wolf Album, in an attempt to drag the old timers kicking and screaming into the new future of modern music… psychedelic rock. And… they were kicking and screaming. Howlin’ Wolf couldn’t stand the album he was talked into making, famously telling session guitarist Pete Cosey, “Why don’t you take them wah-wahs and all that other shit and go throw it off in the lake — on your way to the barber shop?” And Wolf had a point. Despite the talent involved (Cosey would go on to work with Miles Davis and Phil Upchurch is a bass/guitar master), the result of both of these LPs is like mixing oil and water. The fuzz guitars, screaming psych leads and ham-fisted, barely garage-worthy rhythms collide (with prejudice) against the organic, natural blues of both Wolf and Waters. This wasn’t an issue of electric vs. acoustic, as both artists had championed electric blues for well over a decade. This was a question of style, and there was no question that this head-butting of styles created a jarring effect… even today. But, with all that said, these albums were still highly influential records, and – depending on how you take your blues – highly entertaining oddities in both Wolf’s and Waters’ catalogs. As a target demo teen when these LPs were released, I was unknowingly being primed and challenged to investigate the previous work by Waters and Wolf… and I did, just like Marshall Chess figured I would. Even the no-bullshit album covers were effective in conveying a new attitude instead of a hard sell (like Warner Brothers’ 60s youth marketing), which was important in the never-trust-anyone-over-thirty 60s. These days, Electric Mud and The Howlin’ Wolf Album are unique standouts in two stellar careers and are generally treasured for their audacity, if not their success, in fusing two ideas that probably had no business being fused in the first place. Yet… still worked in their own weird way. Find Electric Mud (HERE) and The Howlin’ Wold Album (HERE) at Amazon, and check the archives for much more, including MUDDY WATERS’ “Unk” In The Funk (HERE), The Complete Plantation Recordings (HERE), Fathers And Sons (HERE), Hoochie Coochie Man (a great live show) (HERE), Muddy “Mississippi” Waters Live (HERE) and One More Mile: Chess Collectibles Vol. 1 (HERE). As well as HOWLIN’ WOLF’s Ain’t Gonna Be Your Dog – Chess Collectibles, Vol. 2 (HERE) Complete Chess Masters 1951-1960 (HERE), Live In Europe 1964 (HERE), Memphis Days, Vols. 1 & 2 (HERE) and The Chess Box (HERE).

I Just Want To Make Love To You (4:20)
I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man (4:53)
Let’s Spend The Night Together (3:12)
She’s Alright (6:37)
Mannish Boy (3:51)
Herbert Harper’s Free Press News (4:40)
Tom Cat (3:42)
The Same Thing (5:43)

Spoonful (3:52)
Tail Dragger (4:34)
Smokestack Lightning (3:57)
Moanin’ At Midnight (3:16)
Built For Comfort (5:11)
The Red Rooster (3:51)
Evil (4:07)
Down In The Bottom (2:46)
Three Hundred Pounds Of Joy (2:35)
Back Door Man (6:31)

HOWLIN’ WOLF Smokestack Lightning – The Complete Chess Masters 1951-1960 (2011)

Smokestack Lightning – Complete Chess Masters 1951-1960 (2011)
Lock The Doors And Hide Your Daughters

Four discs of some of the scariest music ever made. Even if you haven’t ever really listened to Howlin’ Wolf, you’ve been touched by his visions via those inspired Brits who resuscitated Wolf back in the mid 60s. Of course, hearing covers of Wolf’s music is one thing… hearing his haunting vocals is something else altogether. Willie Dixon fans should be on board, too, since he authored many of Wolf’s more well-known sides. Hear this collection’s title track below and click the art for song titles. There’s more Wolf in the archives (HERE). Available at Amazon.

One More Mile – Chess Collectibles, Vol. 1
Ain’t Gonna Be Your Dog – Chess Collectibles, Vol. 2

MUDDY WATERS One More Mile – Chess Collectibles, Vol. 1 (1994)
HOWLIN’ WOLF Ain’t Gonna Be Your Dog – Chess Collectibles, Vol. 2 (1994)
You Shouldn’t Need A Sell Job On The Chess Collectibles Series

These 2CD sets, gathered together in the mid-90s, are comprised almost entirely of tracks unreleased in the USA; foreign 45s, alternate versions and some newly uncovered and previously unreleased rarities. The detailed liner notes (and gorgeous photos of Muddy) are why you’re advised to follow the links and score hard copies for yourself. They’re both kind of like alternate universe career retrospectives that you’ve never heard before, unless you’re one of those seriously disturbed 45 collectors with a oxygen controlled vault and an ex-wife or two. There’s more Muddy in the archives; Fathers And Sons, The Complete Plantation Recordings and Hoochie Coochie Man (a great 1964 live recording). There’s more Wolf, too; The Chess Box, Memphis Days Vols. 1 & 2 and Live In Europe 1964.  Find the Muddy and Wolf Chess Collectibles at Amazon.

Hard Days (2:36)
Muddy Jumps One (2:29)
Burying Ground (2:38)
You Gonna Need My Help (3:01)
Rollin’ And Tumblin’, Part 2 (2:32)
Rollin’ Stone (Alternate Take) (3:03)
Country Boy (3:13)
She’s So Pretty (2:13)
Oh Yeah (2:59)
I Don’t Know Why (2:56)
I Want To Be Loved (2:31)
I Got To Find My Baby (2:50)
Crawlin’ Kingsnake (Alternate Take) (2:31)
Read Way Back (Undubbed Alternate) (2:41)
Tiger In Your Tank (2:18)
Meanest Woman (2:19)
I Got My Brand On You (2:20)
Lonesome Room Blues (3:01)
Messin’ With The Man (2:20)
Five Long Years (2:47)
You Don’t Have To Go (2:45)
Elevate Me Mama (1:40)
Thirteen Highway (3:03)
Early in the Morning Blues (2:34)
One More Mile (3:18)
Come Back Baby (Let’s Talk It Over) (2:11)
My Dog Can’t Bark (3:39)
Roll Me Over Baby (2:55)
Trouble in Mind (Hornless Remix) (3:02)
Trouble, Trouble (Hornless Remix) (2:27)
My Pencil Won’t Write No More (3:57)
Cold Up North (4:07)
Steamline Woman (5:36)
Rock Me (4:34)
Standin’ Around Cryin’ (5:56)
Hoochie Coochie Man (2:29)
Baby Please Don’t Go (2:48)
You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had (6:19)
Feel Like Goin’ Home (3:10)
Where’s My Woman Been (3:48)
Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (4:24)

Look-A-Here Baby (2:10)
California Blues #1 (2:59)
Worried All The Time (3:08)
Everybody’s In The Mood (3:02)
Color And Kind (3:13)
Dorothy Mae (2:38)
Sweet Woman (3:26)
Decoration Day (3:17)
Oh Red (2:36)
I’m Not Joking (2:59)
Highway My Friend (2:16)
Hold Your Money (2:23)
California Blues #2 (2:23)
Stay Here Til My Baby Comes Back (2:41)
Come To Me Baby (2:27)
So Glad (2:12)
Bluebird (3:34)
My Life (3:03)
You Ought To Know (3:22)
Nature (Alternate Take) (2:57)
Walk To Camp Hall (2:50)
Poor Boy (Alternate Take) (2:26)
My Baby Told Me (Alternate Take) (2:41)
Midnight Blues (Alternate to “Moaning For My Baby”) (2:35)
You Can’t Put Me Out (2:54)
Getting Late (3:07)
Wolf In The Mood (2:47)
My People’s Gone (2:26)
Mama’s Baby (2:08)
Tail Dragger (Alternate Take) (2:58)
Long Green Stuff (2:33)
Joy To My Soul (2:59)
Poor Wind That Never Change (2:55)
Pop It To Me (2:52)
I Had A Dream (2:47)
The Big House (5:00)
Tired Of Crying (5:38)
Rollin’ And Tumblin’ (Acoustic Fragment) (0:53)
More Howlin’ Wolf Talks (0:29)
I Ain’t Gonna Be Your Dog No More (Acoustic) (3:57)
Woke Up This Morning (Acoustic) (3:46)
Ain’t Going Down That Dirt Road (2nd Acoustic Version) (4:20)

HOWLIN’ WOLF The Chess Box (1991)

The Chess Box (1991)
Not Of This Earth

Imagine some isolated, pasty-faced English teenager (like Eric Clapton, for instance) hearing “Spoonful” for the first time. Listening in on another world to hear a frightening, near maniacal Wolf, rife with passion, emotion and pain, unlike any other kind of “music” ever made. In fact, it seemed to defy the whole notion of popular music altogether, offering instead a window into a driven, tortured soul who had zero in common with a hit parade dominated by the likes of Patti Page or Perry Como. Is it any wonder young Brits turned their backs in droves on guys like Cliff Richard to become disciples of the American blues greats epitomized by the likes of Howlin’ Wolf? God bless God and his pals for understanding what they were hearing, too. Because American kids, who had easier access to this music, were successfully blindfolded en masse by puritanical interests and good old-fashioned bigotry… which is why it took a good-looking hillbilly white boy to catch us up as far as Little RIchard and Big Mama Thornton. Guys like Wolf, however, might as well have come from a whole other planet (and in a way, he did). Three discs of sublime “soul” music no collection should be without – even if you never listen to it until the day your dog dies or your wife leaves with your best friend. That’s when you’ll need the advice of someone who understands what you’re going through. There’s more Wolf in the archives; Live In Europe 1964 and Memphis Days Vols. 1 & 2. Find The Chess Box @ Amazon.

Moanin’ At Midnight [Single Version] (2:57)
How Many More Years [Single Version] (2:43)
Howlin’ Wolf Boogie (2:39)
The Wolf Is At Your Door [Single Version] (2:58)
Mr. Highway Man [Single Version] (2:48)
Howlin’ Wolf Talks #1 (1:58)
Bluebird (2:50)
Saddle My Pony (Single Version) (2:34)
(Well) That’s All Right [1991 The Chess Box Version] (3:03)
My Last Affair [Single Version] (2:58)
Just My Kind (3:03)
Work For Your Money (2:20)
Mama Died And Left Me [1991 The Chess Box Version] (3:14)
All Night Boogie (All Night Long) [Single Version] (2:15)
Streamline Woman (2:46)
Crazy About You Baby (2:22)
You Gonna Wreck My Life [Alternate Take] (2:35)
Neighbors (2:46)
Howlin’ Wolf Talks #2 (1:48)
I’m The Wolf (2:53)
Rockin’ Daddy (3:03)
Baby How Long [Single Version] (2:55)
Evil (Is Going On) [Single Version] (2:55)
I’ll Be Around [Single Version] (3:14)
Forty Four [Single Version] (2:50)
Who Will Be Next [Single Version] (2:33)

Don’t Mess With My Baby (2:39)
Smokestack Lightnin’ (3:09)
You Can’t Be Beat (3:06)
Howlin’ Wolf Talks #3 (0:57)
I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline) (2:50)
The Natchez Burnin’ (2:10)
Who’s Been Talking? [Single Version] (2:23)
Tell Me (2:58)
Sittin’ On Top Of The World (2:34)
I Didn’t Know [Single Version] (2:36)
Moaning For My Baby [Single Version] (2:49)
Change My Way (3:32)
I Better Go Now (2:43)
Howlin’ For My Darling (2:33)
I’ve Been Abused (2:39)
Mr. Airplane Man [Alternate Take] (3:22)
Wang Dang Doodle (2:24)
Back Door Man (2:48)
Howlin’ Wolf Talks #4 (0:27)
Spoonful (2:45)
Down In The Bottom (2:35)
Shake For Me (2:16)
The Red Rooster (2:28)
You’ll Be Mine (2:28)
Just Like I Treat You (2:57)
I Ain’t Superstitious (2:54)
Goin’ Down Slow (4:02)
Tail Dragger (2:57)

Hidden Charms (Single Version) (2:22)
Three Hundred Pounds Of Joy [Single Version] (3:06)
Built For Comfort (Single Version) (2:39)
Love Me Darlin’ [Single Version] (2:53)
Killing Floor (2:51)
My Country Sugar Mama [Single Version] (2:37)
Louise [Single Version] (2:44)
I Walked From Dallas [Single Version] (3:16)
Tell Me What I’ve Done [Single Version] (2:50)
Don’t Laugh At Me [Single Version] (3:15)
Ooh Baby (Hold Me) [Single Version] (2:39)
New Crawlin’ King Snake (2:57)
My Mind Is Ramblin’ (Single Version) (2:53)
Commit A Crime (3:08)
Dust My Broom (2:56)
I’m The Wolf [Acoustic] (5:08)
Ain’t Goin’ Down That Dirt Road (5:51)
Mary Sue [Single Version] (3:04)
Hard Luck [Single Version] (3:13)
The Red Rooster [False Start And Dialogue] (5:57)
Moving [Album Version] (2:45)

HOWLIN’ WOLF Live In Europe 1964

Live In Europe 1964
Headline: “Wolf Terrorizes Locals”

Excellent live Howlin’ Wolf appearance, bringing American blues to the American blues-hungry Germans on November 6, 1964. Like the outstanding Muddy Waters 1964 live show we have in the archives (here, taped at the same American Folk Blues Festival), this stuff is the true juke joint blues, before the Brits spun it around and sent it back to us. The wonderful, piano-led, junkie-spare arrangements seem to barely hold themselves together beneath the Wolf’s vocal torment, with lengthy 5 to 7 minute workouts being the norm. And what a band; Hubert Sumlin (guitar), Sunnyland Slim (piano), Willie Dixon (bass) and Clifton James (drums). Solid, if unremarkable, sound quality. Buyer’s note: Amazon shows this title issued from a couple of different labels. Beware of the 16 track re-issue (with a different cover), as it’s this same 9-track version, only with added studio material.

Shake It For Me (4:18)
Love Me (6:32)
Dust My Broom (5:06)
I Didn’t Mean To Hurt Your Feelings (5:38)
Rockin’ The Blues (5:22)
All My Life (4:13)
Goin’ Down Slow (6:25)
Howlin’ For My Darlin’ (4:27)
Forty Four (7:36)

HOWLIN’ WOLF Memphis Days – The Definitive Edition, Vols. 1 & 2

Memphis Days – The Definitive Edition, Vols. 1 & 2
The Wolf’s First Recordings For Sun Records, 1951/1952

After decades of Captain Beefheart and Tom Waits, sometimes you just gotta go directly to the source. For Chester Burnett, this is where it all began – in Sam Phillips’ Sun Studios, circa 1951/1952, where a.k.a. Howlin‘ Wolf first cut these raw, downright scary blues sides. The All Music Guide calls Wolf’s performances “utterly demonic,” featuring “the amp on 11 guitar work of Willie Johnson and cave-man drumming of Willie Steele.” Chester’s howlin‘ blues is still an earful today, so just imagine what the punters back in the 50s must have thought. Another example of Sam Phillips’ unmatched ability to see the future… and his total lack of business sense to get stinking rich from his visions. Vols. 1 & 2 are at Amazon.

Memphis Days – The Definitive Edition, Vol. 1
Oh Red (Take 1) (2:46)
My Last Affair (Take 1) (3:05)
Come Back Home (Take 1) (2:37)
California Boogie (3:00)
California Blues (2:58)
Look-A-Here Baby (2:11)
Smile At Me (2:06)
My Baby Walked Off (3:01)
DrinkinCv Wine (Cv Wine Blues) (3:08)
My Troubles And Me (3:18)
Chocolate Drop (2:43)
Mr. Highway Man (Cadillac Daddy) (2:28)
Bluebird Blues (2:50)
Color And Kind (3:12)
(Everybody’s) In The Mood (3:00)
Dorothy Mae (Number 2) (2:39)
I Got A Woman – Sweet Woman (3:29)
Decoration Day Blues (3:17)
(Well) That’s All Right (3:03)
How Many More Years (2:51)
Baby Ride With Me (Ridin‘ In The Moonlight) (2:56)

Memphis Days – The Definitive Edition, Vol. 2
Baby Ride With Me (Ridin‘ in the Moonlight) (2:44)
How Many More Years (2:43)
Moanin‘ at Midnight (2:57)
Howlin‘ Wolf Boogie (2:39)
Wolf Is at Your Door (3:01)
Mr. Highway Man (2:49)
Getting Old and Grey (2:39)
Worried All the Time (3:09)
Saddle My Pony (Gonna Find My Baby Out In World Somewhere) (2:34)
Oh, Red! (2:38)
My Last Affair (2:59)
Come Back Home (Take 2) (2:35)
Dorothy Mae (2:45)
Oh, Red! (Take 2) (2:42)
Come Back Home (Take 3) (2:12)
How Many More Years (2:32)
How Many More Years (2:30)
Baby Ride With Me (Ridin‘ in the Moonlight) (2:38)
Baby Ride With Me (Ridin‘ in the Moonlight) (2:35)