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Howlin' Wolf / Moanin' In The Moonlight

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Talkin' Howlin' Wolf


The blues has been a wellspring for rivers of pop, rock and R&B and there's nothing quite like returning to the source. In the mid-'60s, Chess Records released a series of legendary "best of" albums for Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Sonny Boy Williamson and Howlin' Wolf. Under each artist's name, The Real Folk Blues was issued in 1966 and a More Real Folk Blues ... Read more in Amazon's Howlin' Wolf Store

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Howlin' Wolf / Moanin' In The Moonlight + The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions
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Product details

  • Audio CD (5 Sep 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Import Music Services
  • ASIN: B000002O3I
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,620 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Shake For Me
2. The Red Rooster
3. You'll Be Mine
4. Who's Been Talkin'
5. Wang Dang Doodle
6. Little Baby
7. Spoonful
8. Goin Down Slow
9. Down In The Bottom
10. Back Door Man
11. Howlin' For My Baby
12. Tell Me
13. Moanin' At Midnight
14. How Many More Years
15. Smokestack Lightnin'
16. Baby How Long
17. No Place To Go
18. All Night Boogie
19. Evil
20. I'm Leavin You
See all 24 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Product Description

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

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 Jun 2004
Format: Audio CD
You could say that MCA/Chess' various Wolf compilations ("His Best", "His Best vol. 2", "The Genuine Article") have made this twofer-CD obsolete, but as an introduction to the great Howlin' Wolf it still ranks among the best.
The sound quality is not stellar (no remastering), but the songs certainly are.
"Howlin' Wolf / Moanin' In The Moonlight" brings together Wolf's first two LPs, the self-titled one usually called "The Rockin' Chair ALbum" due to the peaceful-looking picture on the cover of a rocking chair with an acoustic guitar propped up next to it...misleading cover art if I ever saw it!
One song has been omitted due to the lenght of the original albums, the liner notes say. A completely meaningless excuse since this CD only runs for 65 minutes, but what's even more odd is that the material from Wolf's first album comes after the songs from his second one, putting latter-day Willie Dixon-penned material before early Wolf-penned songs (these two albums were not conceived as such, they were merely collections of oreviously issued singles as was customary at the time).
But those are minor quibbles. This certainly isn't everything you could ever want from the Wolf, but it is an excellent place to start. Many of his most accessible "mainstream" blues tunes are here, usually written by Dixon: "The Red Rooster" with its muscular, slinky slide guitar riff, the propulsive "Down In The Bottom", the gleeful "Back Door Man", the catchy hard-rocking "Howlin' For My Darlin'" (erroneously titled "Howlin' For My Baby"), and the slightly-too-cute "Wang Dang Doodle", which became very popular even though Wolf himself didn't like the song.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Docendo Discimus TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 30 Jun 2003
Format: Audio CD
MCA/Chess' two excellent Howlin' Wolf-compilations, "His Best" and "His Best vol. II", have perhaps made this album a little obsolete, but if you just want one Howlin' Wolf album, or if you are perhaps looking for a place to start your collection, this is an excellent choice.
"Howlin' Wolf / Moanin' In The Moonlight" combine Chester Burnett's first two LPs on one CD, and these classic songs are a truly essential blues purchase.
When these two albums were put together and released as a CD in 1986, the songs from Wolf's second album, the so-called "Rockin' Chair Album" (because of the cover art by Don Bronstein), were mysteriously put before the ones from his debut. But it doesn't really matter - almost every song from both these 1962 releases is a gem, from Willie Dixon's "The Red Rooster" and "Meet Me Down in The Bottom" to Wolf's own "How Many More Years", "Smokestack Lightnin'" and "Forty-Four", and a re-working of Tommy Johnson's menacing "I Asked For Water (she gave me gasoline)".
Wolf had one of the best backing-bands in the business, originally featuring the raw, blistering lead guitar work of Willie Johnson, but most of these recordings feature the magnificent playing of one of the the most underrated guitarists in the business, the sublime Hubert Sumlin.
This album is not necessarily a must-own in itself, since the best songs are also available elsewhere, but the music certainly is, and this is a good way of getting it.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Lozarithm VINE VOICE on 25 Nov 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is the most essential single Howlin' Wolf CD there could possibly be and would make an excellent first purchase for a Howlin' Wolf novice. It comprises The Wolf's first two long-player releases, both what we would now regard as compilations, and was put out by Chess/MCA in 1986.
Moanin' In The Moonlight came out in America in 1959 and was made up of 12 selected A-sides and B-sides from the many 78's he released between 1951 and 1958, all monaural, including such classics as Smokestack Lightnin' and I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline). The LP kicks off with Moanin' At Midnight and How Many More Years, comprising both sides of his first Chess single, recorded in Memphis by Sam Phillips at what would become the Sun studios, long before Howlin' Wolf moved to Chicago. The songs on this LP are among the most elemental, eerie and powerful pieces of music ever committed to tape.
Equally compelling is the second collection, usually known as the Rocking Chair album, released in the US in January 1962, when the genre was presented as the root of "Music Americana". It contained 3 previously unreleased songs recorded between May and December 1961, and 9 that were on 45's released in 1960 and 1961 (though two were recorded in 1957), but all in stereo. 
Famous songs include The Red Rooster, Wang Dang Doodle, Back Door Man and the Wolf's famous variation of Spoonful (he would have learned the original, fairly dissimilar Spoonful Blues from Charlie Patton) - though all staple fare for a million blues and rock bands ever since, none could match the intensity and darkness of these originals (although the Rolling Stones' Little Red Rooster came close).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dangerous Dave TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Aug 2011
Format: Audio CD
The mighty Wolf's albums number one and two, titled, "Moaning in the moonlight" and "Howling Wolf" respectively, are, quite simply, two of the best blues albums ever which no self-respecting blues fan should be without, even though both are but collections of A and B sides of singles. For reasons known only to Chess they appear in reverse order on this collection but that shouldn't put you off.

The opening tracks of the first album, the powerful "Moanin' at Midnight" and "How many more Years", were both sides of his first single. They were recorded in Memphis in 1951, in what was to become the Sun studios, with the great Willie Johnson slashing away on guitar. The rest of the album is the best of the Wolf's early years at Chess (1951 to 1954) after the move up from West Memphis to Chicago. The immortal "Smokestack Lightnin'" is contained in this set as are other classics like "Evil", "I asked for Water", "Forty Four" and "I'm leavin' You". All of these were written by Howlin' Wolf himself (though it's his actual name, Chester Burnett, which appears on the credits) and his excellent backing is largely provided by the Chess house band, Willie Dixon to the fore.

Album number two, "Howlin' Wolf" (more usually known as "The Rocking Chair album") is astonishing. Recorded as singles over a short period during 1960/61 it's a highly concentrated burst of electric blues music which forms the source of most of what we now call blues rock. With songs from Willie Dixon and with Hubert Sumlin on stinging lead guitar - he'd tempted Sumlin to also make the move up from Memphis to Chicago - the album has fire, passion and power to the nth degree.
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