Howlin' Wolf 1972

Chester Arthur Burnett (June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976), known as Howlin' Wolf, was an influential American blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player. He was born in West Point, Mississippi, in an area now known as White Station. With a booming voice and looming physical presence, Burnett is commonly ranked among the leading performers in electric blues; musician and critic Cub Koda declared, "no one could match Howlin' Wolf for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while simultaneously scaring its patrons out of its wits". A number of songs written or popularized by Burnett—such as "Smokestack Lightnin'", "Back Door Man", "Killing Floor" and "Spoonful"—have become blues and blues rock standards. He was a large man and had an imposing presence, with one of the loudest and most memorable voices of all the "classic" 1950s Chicago blues singers. (Read more at Wikipedia.)

Links to Peel

Rolling Stones and Howlin Wolf 1965 How Many More Years Cuántos años más

Rolling Stones and Howlin Wolf 1965 How Many More Years Cuántos años más.

Howlin' Wolf was one of those "wild men of the blues" who were lifetime favourites of John Peel. Although his records did not make the US pop charts when Peel was living and working in the States, he was rediscovered by American listeners thanks to the Rolling Stones, one of the many 1960s British groups who had been inspired by him. When Peel returned to Britain, he had to borrow a Wolf LP to play on the Perfumed Garden, as the singer's records were not available on the Radio London ship. The album was supplied by Peter Shertser, leader of "psychedelic pranksters" and blues fans The Firm, who Peel had met at the UFO club during his shore leave. Shertser was later to run the blues reissue label Red Lightnin' Records.

In addition to his own recordings, Howlin' Wolf was influential on other Peel favourites, notably Captain Beefheart, whose vocals and harmonica style bears a strong resemblance to Howlin' Wolf's, particularly on the LP "Safe As Milk" which was such an important part of Peel's 1967-68 playlists. Wolf's songs were also recorded by The Doors ("Back Door Man" on their first LP) and the most memorable track by Mike Bloomfield's short-lived band The Electric Flag was their version of Wolf's "Killing Floor".

In the late 1960s, Chess Records attempted to cash in on Howlin' Wolf's popularity with rock musicians by having him record a "psychedelic blues" album. Wolf himself hated this release, but Peel played a few tracks from it. The singer's collaborations with white blues-rock musicians in the early 1970s were warmly received, but in his later playlists Peel favoured the classic tracks for which Wolf is best remembered.

On 21 April 2004, Peel recalled seeing the artist play in London mostly likely in the late Sixties or very early Seventies:

"It was a fantastically disappointing night. I went along with Peter Green who used to be in Fleetwood Mac and was an amazing guitar player and a really nice bloke. We went along to see him play at this kind of trendy club just around the corner from the BBC called the Speakeasy. He'd obviously been playing I think for too long for kind of, white college audiences and things, and he did a kind of Amos 'n' Andy routine which... made you feel really uncomfortable. He was really kind of mugging it up for the white folks. Peter Green actually I seem to remember was in tears by the end of it and I wasn't far off. It was really very depressing indeed."

Festive Fifty Entries

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Other Shows Played

(The list below was compiled only from the database of this site and Lorcan's Tracklistings Archive. Please add more information if known.)

  • 12 July 1967: Meet Me In The Bottom (LP - Howlin' Wolf) Chess LP-1469 (US release)
  • 16 July 1967: Little Red Rooster (LP - Howlin' Wolf) Chess LP-1469 (The Rolling Stones made it a hit, "which was good"...)
  • 18 July 1967: Shake for Me (with jumps; Peel apologises to Peter Shertser of the Firm, who lent him the record)
  • 14 August 1967: Dust My Broom
  • 31 March 1972: Howlin' Wolf (LP - unknown) (Song title not found. Possibly "Howlin' Wolf Boogie".)
  • 01 August 1972: Wang Dang Doodle (2xLP - Chester Burnett A.K.A. Howlin' Wolf) Chess
  • 21 January 1980: Going Down Slow / Down In The Bottom / Back Door Man (LP-Howlin' Wolf) Chess (Peel gets carried away and plays three successive tracks from the same old LP.)
  • 26 January 1980 (BFBS): You'll Be Mine
  • 12 April 1988: Down In The Bottom (v/a LP - Chess: The Rhythm And The Blues) Chess
  • 23 April 1988 (BFBS): Down In The Bottom (v/a LP - Chess: The Rhythm And The Blues) Chess
  • 16 March 1991: Going Down Slow
  • 15 June 1991: Shake It For Me (LP - Moanin' & Howlin')
  • 16 June 1991: Going Down Slow (album - Moaning And Howling)
  • 22 June 1991: You'll Be Mine (album - Moaning and Howling)
  • 13 July 1991: Goin' Down Slow (CD - Moanin' & Howlin') Charly
  • 02 November 1991: Down In The Bottom (CD-Moaning And Howling) Chess (JP: 'Most peculiar sound on that, it sounded like Howling Wolf had phoned the vocals in in some way. ... That's the miracle of CDs for you...Never sounded anything like that on vinyl.')
  • 29 December 1991: Going Down Slow
  • 04 April 1996: Somebody In My Home (CD - Who Will Be Next?) Charley Blues Masters
  • 21 April 2004: No Place to Go (LP - Howlin' in the Moonlight) Chess
  • 22 April 2004: Evil (LP- Moanin' In The Moonlight) Chess
  • 20 May 2004: Down In The Bottom (LP: Howlin' Wolf) Chess (Peel plays the wrong Howlin' Wolf track for Peel Acres guest PJ Harvey: 'Back Door Man' was the one requested).
  • 25 August 2004: Back Door Man (LP - 'Moanin' and Howlin') Chess

See Also

External Links

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