Digitally re-mastered and expanded edition including 15 bonus tracks. Howlin' Wolf was one of the greatest characters and most electrifying performers in Blues history. He was an imposing presence, blessed with a thunderous voice, enormous physical strength, and a pair of lungs that would not quit. Wolf didn't just startle audiences, he menaced them into submission. In addition to his powerful voice, he was also an accomplished harmonica player. This quintessential collector's edition contains Howlin' Wolf's outstanding debut album for Chess Records, Moanin' in the Moonlight, one of the all-time cornerstones of the genre. We have also included 15 bonus tracks (gathering a variety of those great sides he recorded between 1951 and 1960), making this the definitive edition of Wolf's Blues masterpiece.
Howlin' Wolf may be gone, but his spirit lives on, as this 13-track tribute album featuring members of the Wolf's own band attests. Sam Lay, Eddie Shaw, Hubert Sumlin, and the rest are as tight and smooth as they ever were playing behind Howlin' Wolf, and they've got an array of guest stars to do the Wolf proud. Taj Mahal (sounding a good bit like Wolf himself) is here, as are guitar-slinger Debbie Davies and multi-instrumentalist Kenny Neal. Lucinda Williams does a bluesy turn, and there are contributions from Lucky Peterson, James Cotton, and more. The CD features plenty of Wolf favorites, including "Saddle My Pony," "Howlin' for My Darling," "The Red Rooster," "Howlin' Wolf Boogie," and "Smokestack Lightnin'," among others. All in all, it's a fitting tribute to a man whose contribution to the blues is immeasurable.
Where Chess' two-volume Muddy Waters anthology His Best was divided according to chronological guidelines, the Howlin' Wolf series of the same name follows a different pattern. His Best, Vol. 1 contained all of the Wolf's best-known songs – as if the label never planned a sequel. Consequently, when it came time to assemble Vol. 2, they had two major items ("The Natchez Burning," "Down in the Bottom") that didn't make the first cut, a take of "The Red Rooster" with dialogue, plus a host of songs familiar to Wolf fans, but not casual blues fans. Since Chester Burnett was one of the greatest bluesmen in history, these second-tier songs aren't castoffs – they're forgotten or unappreciated classics. They might not be as monumental as the songs on His Best, Vol. 1, yet they're great songs, making His Best, Vol. 2 an excellent complement to its essential predecessor.
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Part of the Chess 50th Anniversary Collection series, this digitally remastered set contains 20 of Howlin' Wolf's biggest and best Chess label recordings including "Spoonful", "The Red Rooster", "Killing Floor" and "Smokestack Lightning". Packaging features great new liner notes and graphics.
The Real Folk Blues series on Chess wasn't really folk, but titled that way, perhaps to gain the attention of young white listeners who had started to get turned on to the blues during the 1960s folk revival. And the Howlin' Wolf volumes in the series were not particularly more folk-oriented than his other Chess recordings, but more or less arbitrary selections of tracks that he'd done from the mid-'50s to the mid-'60s. It's thus also arbitrary to do a two-fer reissue of his The Real Folk Blues and More Real Folk Blues, combined here onto a single disc. That doesn't mean, though, that this isn't very good and sometimes great electric blues music. The Real Folk Blues, with tracks from 1956 to 1965, is by far the more modern of the pair in arrangements, and has a good share of classics: "Killing Floor," "Sittin' on Top of the World," "Built for Comfort," "Tail Dragger," and "Three Hundred Pounds of Joy".