Howlin' Wolf was a musical giant in every way. He stood 6' 3", wore size 16 shoes, had skin so dark it shined like silver, and poured out his darkest sorrows in a voice that sounded like a rampaging chainsaw. Half a century after his first hits, Wolf's sound still terrifies and inspires.
Born Chester Arthur Burnett in 1910, the Wolf survived a grim childhood and hard-scrabble youth as a sharecropper in Mississippi. He began his career playing and singing in perilous juke joints with the first Delta blues stars in the 1930s and 1940s. He was present at the birth of rock 'n' roll in Memphis and helped define the sound of electric blues in Chicago in the 1950s and 1960s. He ended his career performing and recording with the world's most famous rock stars in the 1970s. His passion for music kept him performing-despite devastating physical problems-until his death in 1976.
This DVD shows Howlin' Wolf prowling on stage at the first Washington D.C. Blues Festival in November 1970, supported by his top-notch band. Hear him moan his earth-shaking blues and watch his unforgettable stage antics and you'll see why Sam Phillips - who also discovered Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis - called Howlin' Wolf his greatest discovery.
Titles Include: Highway 49, How Many More Years, Killing Floor, Howlin' For My Baby, Back Door Man, I Want To Have a Word With You, Smile At Me, Decoration Day and Sittin' On Top Of The World
The Band: Howlin' Wolf, vocals and harmonica • Sunnyland Slim, piano • Hubert Sumlin, guitar • Randy Joe Fullerton, bass • S. P. Leary, drums
Running Time: 60 minutes
Review: Wow - it doesn't get much better than this! There is precious little live footage of the great Howlin' Wolf available so this release is a real stunner. Not only has not been out before but it captures Wolf in top form accompanied by a great band including the mind bending guitar work of Hubert Sumlin and the piano of Sunnyland Slim. Wolf howls the blues, prowls the stage like a caged animal and wails on the harmonica on classic Wolf favorites like "Highway 49/ How Many More Years/Killing Floor/Back Door Man/Decoration Day" and others. In between songs there are fascinating excerpts of an interview with Wolf and Sunnyland. Video and sound quality are excellent. A real treasure and a must have for blues lovers. – Frank Scott at Roots & Rhythm
Review: Question: How does a 6'3" 300-pound Howlin' Wolf perform? Answer: Any way he damn well pleases. So crawling on all fours may not be a conventional mode of entrance to the center-stage microphone, nor is sprawled down on the floor the typical stance for singing a song. But who'd dare inform Big Chester? With eyes wildly twitching, size-16 shoes stamping across the bandstand, and voice in full roar, the Eighth Wonder of the World was all-consuming in performance even in the face of a dream band who'd induce goose bumps in their own iconic right. Yet this was the almighty Wolf in theatrical action; beyond the pale; and In Concert, 1970 at the first Washington D.C.L. Blues Festival. Here "Killing Floor," "Howling' For My Baby" and "Back Door Man" became vehicles for animated showmanship which proved that then touring young rockers like the strutting Mick Jagger or a shambling Jim Morrison had nothing on this 60-year-old Tail Dragger. He'd sing, blow harp, gnaw harp, stand, sit, kneel, stomp, sneer, taunt, cuss, leer, and profusely rap to the crowd. Meanwhile guitarist Hubert Sumlin, pianist Sunnyland Slim, drummer S.P. Leary, and bassist Randy Joe Fullerton kept on fire, fiercely vamping, torquing it down, feeding their captain repeated chances for re-entry back into the song. Eventually he'd grab a hold of the lyrics again and off they'd ride. Interview segments, along with color footage of an Eddie Shaw boosted "Sittin' On Top Of The World," complement this B&W spectacle that's a must for your to do list. – Dennis Rozanski/BluesRag<BR>