On Shindig, with the Rolling Stones. The Shindogs (with James Burton) backing Wolf and Hubert Sumlin. 1965.
European TV appearence.
Newport Jazz Festival. Nobody booed Wolf for going electric.
Check from Sam Phillips to Chester Burnett (Howlin’ Wolf), in time for Christmas, ’51.
My favorite stamp.
Onstage at Silvios, Chicago, early 60’s.
June 10 was Howlin’ Wolf’s centennial. That means 1ooth birthday for you morons out there. So I’m ten days late and two dollars short, as usual. All of Wolf’s great Chess and RPM sides (and the un-issued recordings) are in print somewhere in the world today, so there’s no excuse not to own them. If you want to know more about Chester Arthur Burnette, I highly recommend James Segrest and Mark Hoffman’s Moanin’ At Midnight: The Life and Times Of Howlin’ Wolf
(Pantheon,2004), as well as Don McGlynn’s
2003 documentary The Howlin’ Wolf Story
, which is available on DVD and also turns up on cable TV quite a bit these days. I thought I’d post the above clips and pix as my own personal tribute since Howlin’ Wolf was the guy that really turned me on to great music. It was the top clip, when the he appeared on Shindig
with my then heroes– the Rolling Stones sitting worshippfully at his feet that really turned my six year old head inside out. It wasn’t until six years later that I found a copy of his Evil
(Chess, which was a 70’s re-issue of his first album Moanin’ At Midnight
) in a .99 cent bin, a record that would really change the way I heard music for ever.
By the time I saw Wolf live (1974) he was sick and old, he couldn’t get out of his chair and his set was only four songs (about 15 minutes) long, but I’m still glad I went, just to hear him make that sound. It seemed to come from someplace deep inside of him and rumbled out of him like the beginning of an earthquake. It was more than a mere voice, it was a wonder of nature.
For you beginers I suggest you pick up the CD of his first two Chess albums (released on one CD)- Moanin’ At Midnight/Howlin’ Wolf (aka The Rocking Chair album), then get the two volumes of Bear Family Memphis recordings done at Sun Studio– Memphis Days Vol. 1 and 2, and then pretty much everything else he did except the London Sessions, This Is Howlin’ Wolf’s New Album…He Doesn’t Like It (aka the “Birdshit album” as Wolf put it) and the stupid “super blues jam” LP’s is worth owning.