Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Howlin’ Wolf – His Best – Chess 50th Anniversary Collection

Another undisputed master of the blues and one of the most intense singer/performers ever to exist! Pretty much every modern musician in the world has covered his tunes at some point but no one could match this legend! As he himself says, he’s “300 pounds of heavenly joy”!

Most of the Wolf’s releases can be recommended, but this is a great place to start. There are a few of his lesser-known tunes, but most of his hits are included. “Evil” is one of the many songs that have been covered by innumerable artists, though probably most famously by Cactus and Monster Magnet. “Smokestack Lightning” has also been done more times that can be counted and its riff has also been stolen for even more tunes! Wolf gives his patented howl on this song and it’s a raw, wild performance.

“Who’s Been Talkin’” has a hypnotic groove that really pulls you in and is followed by a song made famous by Cream, “Sitting on Top of the World”. Cream actually stayed pretty close to the original, for a change, but the Wolf’s treatment is pretty damn genius.

One of my all-time favorite Wolf tunes is “Wang Dang Doodle”, which is like a full-blown party condensed into one song! This has also had more covers that I could possibly mention, but Koko Taylor has a fantastic version and, believe it or not, the Pointer Sisters did a wild take on this, as well!

Man, the hits on this compilation just keep coming! “Back Door Man” – what can be said about this masterpiece of sneaky sex?! The Doors' version is pretty damn classic, but here the man truly sounds like he’s creeping around and that you would be damn sorry if he snuck into your back door (no butt sex jokes here! I really don't think that is what this song is about!) because he sounds like he could steal your woman without even trying!

“Spoonful”, “Shake For Me”, “The Red Rooster”, “I Ain’t Superstitious”, “Hidden Charms”, “Built For Comfort”, “Killing Floor” – whew! How could one man be responsible for so much greatness?!

I’d be pretty amazed if anyone wasn’t familiar with this man’s work, so I would think that it would go without saying that you need to own at least something by this legend! This is a super collection of some of his biggest hits!