Howlin' Wolf's first and second Chess albums are essential listening of the highest order. They were compiled -- as were all early blues albums -- from various single sessions (not necessarily a bad thing, either), and blues fans will probably debate endlessly about which of the two albums is the perfect introduction to his music. But this CD reissue renders all arguments moot, as both album appear on one disc, making this a true best buy.
This package combines blues giant Howlin' Wolf's first two albums, themselves compilations of his singles released between 1951 and 1962. Apart from two tracks cut in Memphis with Ike Turner, these Chess Studios recordings are landmarks in the development of electric Chicago blues. The Mississippi Delta native's gruff persona towers over "Smokestack Lightnin'," "Red Rooster," "Spoonful," "Evil," "Wang Dang Doodle," "Back Door Man," and others that have become standards since being "discovered" by the Rolling Stones, Clapton, The Doors, et al. Almost as influential as Wolf's bottomless growl are the guitar playing of Hubert Sumlin and the writing and direction of Willie Dixon. An exceptional twofer value for such a weighty slice of American musical history. --Ben Edmonds