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Moanin' at Midnight: The Life and Times of Howlin' Wolf [Kindle Edition]

James Segrest , Mark Hoffman
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £10.99
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Book Description

Howlin’ Wolf was a musical giant in every way. He stood six foot three, weighed almost three hundred pounds, wore size sixteen shoes, and poured out his darkest sorrows onstage in a voice like a raging chainsaw. Half a century after his first hits, his sound still terrifies and inspires.

Born Chester Burnett in 1910, the Wolf survived a grim childhood and hardscrabble youth as a sharecropper in Mississippi. He began his career playing and singing with the first Delta blues stars for two decades in perilous juke joints. He was present at the birth of rock ’n’ roll in Memphis, where Sam Phillips–who also discovered Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis–called Wolf his “greatest discovery.” He helped develop the sound of electric blues and vied with rival Muddy Waters for the title of king of Chicago blues. He ended his career performing and recording with the world’s most famous rock stars. His passion for music kept him performing–despite devastating physical problems–right up to his death in 1976.

There’s never been a comprehensive biography of the Wolf until now. Moanin’ at Midnight is full of startling information about his mysterious early years, surprising and entertaining stories about his decades at the top, and never-before-seen photographs. It strips away all the myths to reveal–at long last–the real-life triumphs and tragedies of this blues titan.

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"He was one of a kind. Nobody I heard before him or after him has had that fantastic delivery-that certain something in his voice that seemed like a sword that'd pierce your soul when he'd sing. Wolf was already a great singer and musician when I first met him. To my mind, he's one of the greatest ever. We'll never see another like him." -From the introduction by B. B. King "Talk about best-kept secrets! There are no rumors in this book-not a one. It says everything there is to say about the Wolf. I've been looking for this one for a long, long time." -Taj Mahal "Things folks have done in the dark are going to come out in the light. Nobody else has ever dug up what these guys have found-and it's right." -Hubert Sumlin

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7991 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (28 Nov. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #238,974 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BLUES WITH A FEELING 28 Jun. 2004
Without a doubt this is the finest biography ever written about a blues legend. It crackles with life and I enjoyed and savoured every moment.
The story of Wolf's early years and what he went through growing up in Mississippi was sad and deeply moving and gives a sensitive insight into the true character of the man. The way his mother continues to reject him because she believes the blues is 'the Devil's music' is a tragedy made all the more poignant by the way it effects Wolf as a grown man as he attempts a reconciliation. His whole life in fact reads not unlike a Faulkner novel and is just as riveting.
The many anecdotes from musicians and associates create a vivid picture of the Chicago blues scene of the fifties and sixties. It's a fascinating tale lovingly told and beautifully crafted and had me doubled up on the floor with laughter on more than one occasion. I also valued the details of Wolf's recording sessions which added a whole new insight into tracks I've loved and returned to time and again over the past forty years.
Even if you're not a blues fan this book is a fascinating read. And if you like blues and especially if you've ever dug a Wolf track then you'd better get a copy...and fast! Believe me, you won't be disappointed.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where the soul of man never dies 22 Jan. 2005
This book sets a new standard for music biographies, the authors have really done their research. Not only that, Chester almost jumps off the pages so well do they reveal a complex and private man. Descriptions of live performances and studio sessions are finely detailed, due to the numerous interviews the authors conducted with sidemen, producers, fans and family members. Good thing these writers started work on the book many years ago; a number of the interviewees have since died, making this the final word on working/living with the Wolf. Outstanding.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely detailed biography 29 Jun. 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I tend to find biographies polarise either towards pointless extrapolated guesses by authors, or are very thoroughly researched. This book falls into the latter category, and has footnotes like a doctoral thesis
This doesn't get in the way of the story of the man, though. If you're interested in Howlin Wolf, there's no option: buy this book and read it (PS: the hardback version I received looks great)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written biography. 30 April 2009
I fully agree with the other reviews.
As a youth in the 60's I listened to a lot of the old blues men, but over the years I moved away musically. My interest was renewed when I saw old film clips of Wolf in action, listening to a record is only half of the performance.
The amount of detail in this book is astonishing. It creates a vivid picture of the life of a country blues man before the Second War. Reading the details of life in the Southern USA is alarming (even though we already know all about it). Little wonder that men like Wolf could sing 'the blues' whilst so many blues-men today are going through the motions.
This book is extremely well researched, and very well written. It is essential for anyone who has even the slightest interest in the roots of pop, rock & roll, soul, rap.
What a character Wolf was, they don't make them like that anymore!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great homage to the greatest bluesman 9 Jun. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am not a great fan of biographies, but I am a fan of Howlin' Wolf's music, and since I really didn't know his story I thought it might make for a good read. I was blown away by the effect the book had on my understanding of that period, the Blues, and America.
This is the story of the Blues, a must for anyone who wants to understand where this music comes from historically, psychologically, and ethnomusicologically, and how the foundations of so many later musical genres were based on the work of a relatively small number of talented, hard working musicians.
The authors have achieved a remarkable balance between sticking to an objective portrait of a complex and not altogether pleasant man, while inspiring intense passion for his music. When the art of a man is divine it is easy to idolize the man, but they have succeeded in avoiding this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book indeed. 4 Nov. 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I don't feel I need to add much to the above reviews; this is one of the finest biographies you can read and it really does do the mighty Wolf justice. There have been other essays and sketches of Wolf, but this is the only full and complete book on the subject that I know of. And it's very good indeed, absolutely worth it and satisfying. The research is extensive and impeccable - this should have been done right and it has been done right. There is an accompanying video DVD (if you can get it) which complements the book and is worth tracking down. This book could well be read in conjunction with 'Can't be satisfied - the life and times of Muddy Waters' by Robert Gordon, which IMHO is superior to the Sandra Tooze biography.

And it will also be read while listening to Howling Wolf. I'm fairly certain that anyone wanting to read a book on Wolf will know the music well enough. It is a body of work that has such raw power, aggression and mystery that it retains its distilled potency to this day. Timeless. There is, finally, no answer (nor need there be) to the mystery of his music and that voice, but here is his life story.
Very highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book On a Great Man! 27 April 2008
Seeing this book was one of the reasons I set about the task of writing Revelation Blind Willie Johnson The Biography in an attempt to emulate this great tribute to a great man, this is surely the definitive work on the life of Howlin' Wolf, a must read to anyone interested in the man and his music!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars the wolf still howls
awesome in depth coverage on the man -his music-and lifestyle
Published 1 month ago by michael thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good rea\d
Published 6 months ago by bearcat
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another great item
Published 6 months ago by J MCCULLOCH
5.0 out of 5 stars ... find the book well written and researched and would recommend it...
Have only recently started reading the book but find the book well written and researched and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the history of the Blues.
Published 9 months ago by Mr. R. L. Corbett
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wolf is at your door
I've been a fan of Howlin' Wolf's music for 50 years and so was very glad to get this book to read about his life and times. Read more
Published 15 months ago by G. E. Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars A great insight into a great performer
A great story of a wonderful performer. How he made his way to the top...and stayed there, through very difficult times. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Zeroidking
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive book about the greatest ever blues singer
This book is a must read for any blues fan, let alone Wolf fan. Amazing amount of detail, especially Wolf's band line ups on various recordings. Read more
Published on 29 April 2013 by David Bevan
4.0 out of 5 stars Legend biography
An excellant read. Gives a fascinating incite into the life of this legendary blues singer from his childhood to his demise. Read more
Published on 17 Aug. 2010 by treddie
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book detailing this legend of a man
What I want to know is why dont they turn this into a film ?? Howlin Wolf was an awesome talent & this book reflects this & his amazing life on every page. Read more
Published on 18 Dec. 2009 by Johannah
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