Friday, April 24, 2015

Howlin' Wolf Memphis Days, the Definitive Edition, Vol. 1

There are numerous giants of the blues, but the Wolf has to be the biggest - literally and figuratively. If there is anyone who epitomizes everything about the blues - from the overall-wearin' country shouter to the slick-suited city bluesman - it is this man and his wonderfully raw and exciting sounds. This CD compiles cuts Chester did for Sam Phillips in Sun Studios in Memphis before moving to Chicago.

Besides his incredibly imposing vocals, Burnett also adds harmonica and guitar, while Willie Johnson provides some terrific earthy, fantastically distorted lead guitar and Willie Steele smacks the drums. At times there are some horns (used to great effect) and piano (Ike Turner plays on some cuts) and it all is pretty damn spectacular!

If you've ever heard the Wolf (and lord help you if you haven't!), you know how great he is. This stuff is not some of his more famous tracks, but it is all right up there with his best. Essential!