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Howlin' Wolf on the YouTube and related links
February 4, 2008 9:47 PM   Subscribe

Howlin' Wolf - How Many More Years
Howlin' Wolf - Meet Me in the Bottom
Howlin' Wolf - Highway 49
Howlin' Wolf - Smokestack Lightning
Howlin' Wolf - Dust My Broom
Howlin Wolf - I'll Be Back Someday

And here is Howlin' Wolf -A Personal Recollection from The (unofficial) Howlin' Wolf Web Site.

Wolf sometime in the late 1940s.

Howlin' Wolf, bluesman, force of nature, historic figure--where the soul of Man never dies.

Not mention his second career as human mutate and Marvel comic book super hero.
posted by y2karl (29 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
Best blues related superhero evarr. Every time you think that something couldn't possibly be a real comic, it was...and it ruled.
posted by Hugonaut at 10:00 PM on February 4, 2008


Thanks, y2karl.

Howlin' Wolf is one of my favorites performers. The studio version of "Meet Me in the Bottom" has the greatest groove with Jimmy Rogers* and Wolf playing the guitar... that song made me realize that there was a lot you could do with time and a slide. Not to mention the 3, 567, 891 (conservative estimate, of course) that have used the riff to "Smokestack Lightning" (you can stare at the record while listening to the studio version!). Man, that song.... Or the fact that the Ren and Stimpy theme always sounded exactly like "Killing Floor". Sorry, I'll stop now.

Anyone who would like to know more about Howlin' Wolf should pick up The Howlin' Wolf Story. It's full of archival footage (most of the above appears) and interviews with his daughters and people who played with him.

*Once, when I was in Blue Heaven Studios, I was actually able to touch one of Rogers guitars. His son, Jimmy D. Lane, helps run the studio and the label associated with it, or at least used to, I'm not sure if he does anymore.
posted by sleepy pete at 10:20 PM on February 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Some great clips you've linked to here, y2karl.

This DVD, The Howlin' Wolf Story, is highly recommended for Wolf fans. Lots of performance footage, of course, and the interview segments with his daughters are charming. Chester Burnett was a solid family guy, and his children speak very lovingly of their dad.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:29 PM on February 4, 2008


Thanks for this, y2karl -- you are the undisputed king of music posts.
posted by melissa may at 10:43 PM on February 4, 2008


Such great historical pieces, y2karl. YouTube proved itself for me when I started being able to find these vintage blues clips. And the first person I started searching for was Howlin' Wolf, the old taildragger.

The clips you unearthed are thrilling. I'd seen two, but they keep getting deleted, grrr. Hadn't seen the others. Note the cameo of the rather intoxicated Son House in the first video and Dust My Broom. I love the close up of Wolf's facial expressions in Highway 49 - I can almost feel myself in the audience. What a powerhouse, what raw energy - love the Wolf man.

I didn't know about the comic thing, what a hoot.

Shake it for me - one of my favorites, taped from a 1964 German TV show, missing a few seconds on the front end, but still fabulous. I got a crazy woman, shake like jelly on a plate...
posted by madamjujujive at 10:54 PM on February 4, 2008


Excellent early Howlin Wolf y2karl. Sweet post.

Oh man, some of my favorite songs ever were written by him. Killing Floor - The Electric Flag

He had a mean mother. The Howlin Wolf story site with some sound clips. His grave.

Howlin' Wolf's voice has been compared to "the sound of heavy machinery operating on a gravel road"


Solid head on his shoulders, I like that: After he married Lillie, who was able to manage his professional finances, Wolf was so financially successful that he was able to offer band members not only a decent salary, but benefits such as health insurance; this in turn enabled him to hire his pick of the available musicians, and keep his band one of the best around. According to his daughters, he was never financially extravagant, for instance driving a Pontiac station wagon rather than a more expensive and flashy car.

Love his London Howlin Wolf Sessions.
posted by nickyskye at 10:57 PM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


He had a mean mother.

Yeah, she seems to have been a real piece of work: super devout Christian, convinced that the blues was the tool of Satan himself. Wouldn't even speak to her son, right to her grave. The DVD I linked to above touches on this, and it was apparently really, really hard on Burnett.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:29 PM on February 4, 2008


Somewhere in my collection is a Sonny Boy Williamson CD whose liner notes tell a story of how Sonny Boy had the ability to make his voice sound a lot like Wolf's -- he's even got a song called "Like Wolf," where he demonstrates this. Occasionally, the story goes, Sonny Boy would actually pretend he was Wolf, to draw crowds. When Wolf found out about this, he started telling people that he'd better not run into Sonny Boy, because Sonny Boy would be a fucking dead man if he ever saw him.*

Whenever someone turns on American Idol, I close my eyes, think of this story, and smile. Music wasn't always crap, and neither were the narratives that surrounded its creation.


*There's a small chance it may have been Muddy Waters, but I'm pretty sure it was Sonny Boy.
posted by hifiparasol at 11:36 PM on February 4, 2008


What Flapjax said about the DVD. You don't think of him as a dad, but the daughters are great and fill in the picture. Lots of historical footage.

I heard him once as the opening act for, like, Frank Zappa. Wolf and Muddy Waters: two greatest voices in the blues? Two of the greatest singing voices evah?
posted by cogneuro at 11:52 PM on February 4, 2008


...how Sonny Boy had the ability to make his voice sound a lot like Wolf's...

Hey, Captain Beefheart turned that into a whole career!

Not to say, though, that Beefheart isn't deserving of all sorts of high accolades: he is after all, one of the great eccentric genius iconoclasts of 20th century American music.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:54 AM on February 5, 2008


y2karl, everything about your posts is good
posted by MinPin at 12:58 AM on February 5, 2008


*howls a bit*
posted by Wolof at 2:22 AM on February 5, 2008


Howlin' Wolof!

Hey, somebody had to say it, right?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:03 AM on February 5, 2008


Keep Howlin'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:10 AM on February 5, 2008


Howlin' Wolf - How Many More Years Times
Howlin' Wolf - Meet Me in the Bottom Morning
Howlin' Wolf - Smokestack Lightning Covered
posted by poppo at 3:59 AM on February 5, 2008


A fine Wolf bio: Moanin' At Midnight: The Life and Times of Howlin' Wolf
posted by rdone at 4:59 AM on February 5, 2008


convinced that the blues was the tool of Satan himself

You mean it's not? I'm going to have to rethink my love of the blues in that case.

[This is awesome]
posted by psmealey at 5:08 AM on February 5, 2008


Thank you, y2karl.
posted by not_on_display at 5:25 AM on February 5, 2008



Wow, thanks for this. Who was it that said "The blues ain't nothin' but a good man feelin' bad"? Yet when I hear the blues, it makes me feel so very uplifted and...good!

I will now go through the day happily humming "Smokestack Lightning" to myself.
posted by quietalittlewild at 5:38 AM on February 5, 2008


I'm sick of these Led Zeppelin posts.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:41 AM on February 5, 2008


Hey, Captain Beefheart turned that into a whole career!

According to Frank Zappa, Van Vliet (aka The Captain) actually used to run around with a wet head to give himself a cold in order to make his voice sound like that. One day his voice cracked and never went back.

he is after all, one of the great eccentric genius iconoclasts of 20th century American music

The story goes that Muddy Waters once apologized to Don for having an off night when Van Vliet had come to see him. If Muddy Waters cares that much about you, you're doing something right.
posted by sleepy pete at 7:16 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Brilliant. I love the Wolf, even more than Muddy. Great post.
posted by Rangeboy at 8:35 AM on February 5, 2008


Who, oh who, can find me a clip of "Do the Do"? Arguably the first modern rock song.... And with Hubert Sumlin please, not British rock stars.
posted by msalt at 8:44 AM on February 5, 2008


Note the cameo of the rather intoxicated Son House in the first video and Dust My Broom.

Both are clips from the dvd Devil Got My Woman:Blues At Newport 1966 , the greater part of which was filmed by Alan Lomax. Lomax attempted to recreate be a roadhouse atmosphere by filming the Newport peformers and their companions after hours in a restaurant or a set created backstage at the Festival.

Son House, a notorious alcoholic, had gotten drunk and then belligerent and wouldn't stop shouting interjections during Wolf's monologues between song. Wolf bore this for a few moments, and tried to brush it off with a <>em>Now, here's a man with the blues. But House wouldn't shut up and the Wolf became visibly angry and said You had a chance with your life, but you ain’t done nothing’ with it--you don’t love but one thing, and that’s some whiskey...

It's a rather intense dressing down--Wolf is mad--especially considering that Son House ran with Charley Patton, who had been Wolf's mentor. He once had a great deal of respect for the man.

It was quite a legendary encounter among blues circles before these films made it to first VHS and then DVD.This is also mentioned and discussed in the Howling Wolf Story film that sleepy pete linked above. Between Devil Got My Woman: Blues At Newport 1966 and the the American Folk Blues Festival series of dvds you will find the bulk of Wolf's performances on video. All three are worth getting.

Hubert Sumlin's recollections in The Howlin' Wolf Story alone are priceless.
posted by y2karl at 10:25 AM on February 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


Howlin' Wolf's Cadet Concept LP. If you hate Electric Mud, you'll despise this.
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 10:53 AM on February 5, 2008


Rewatching those videos. What an elegant man. Hypnotic presence.
posted by nickyskye at 11:19 AM on February 5, 2008


Yaa -Hooo-oooh.

Wolf does a hauntingly slow version of “Smokestack Lightning.” My dad caught that a long time back. Only thing that comes close (for me) is John Lee Hooker’s low version of “Father was a Jockey.”
posted by Smedleyman at 11:38 AM on February 5, 2008


And let it be noted that Wolf's original Smokestack Lightning is one of two--I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline) being the other--songs he did that were takes on Tommy Johnson's Cool Drink of Water. If you go by their repertoires, both Muddy and the Wolf were far more influenced by a Johnson by the first name of Tommy rather than Robert.
posted by y2karl at 12:19 PM on February 5, 2008


Evil.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:12 PM on February 19, 2008


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