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Lemmie howl for ya!
on 29 December 2012
I'd just like to add my opinion that this is definitely no half baked project which shouldn't have happened. In truth it should stand proud in any Wolf collection and in fact some of these versions are arguably better than the originals, when you take into consideration the advanced technology, the excellent production, the fine band and added musical palette - horns, keyboards and guitar in post production. Ok, Wolf's voice is not as intense as in some earlier versions, for example in Who's Been Talking where the original key of Dm is dropped to Am in order to accommodate his range perhaps, but it still has that authority, it still has gravitas, and the band musicianship compensates.
Of course, with such a stellar band supporting their hero it had to work - the Stones' engine room plus the sixth Stone, Scotsman Ian Stewart on piano for 4 numbers (and 5 alternate takes), Clapton on guitar with Wolf's Hubert Sumlin on 2nd guitar and rhythm, and Steve Winwood and Layfayette Leake added keyboards later, according to the notes. A young Chicago harmonica player called Jeff Carp who had played with Muddy, Earl and John Lee Hooker was brought over to fill in for Wolf. The notes say that he was killed in a bizarre boat accident not long after this recording. A sad loss.
The second Cd in the deluxe set is certainly not superfluous, although why they chose the tentative rehearsal of Worried About My Babe to open is curious. At least three tracks are the equal of, if not superior to, the issued tracks - the first What A Woman aka Commit A Crime (there are two versions on Cd2), The Red Rooster, Worried About My Babe (the alt version - not the rehearsal), also Who's Been Talkin after the dialogue ends rocks nicely. The extended alternate take of Do The Do is a hypnotic boogie with Charlie's beat up front for almost 6 minutes while Wolf sounds his way forward. Poor Boy and the alternate Rockin' Daddy are both good.
Of the three bonus tracks on side 1, Goin' Down Slow is one of those deep blues with great guitar - Hubert Sumlin perhaps, and superb harp from maestro Jeff Carp, and Wolf is living his vocal, painting his inimitable picture. His vocal on the self penned I Want To Have A Word With You is raw and passionate. Killin' Floor, by comparison to the original is, for my taste, tepid.
This deluxe edition is a handsome product, the remastering is great, the booklet is informative and well written by Bill Dahl plus photos (including a couple of Jagger with Wolf) and session details. It would complement your Memphis and Chicago Wolf recordings, and while not having the visceral intensity of prime Wolf, it does provide another rockin' side to the man with it's fine band, added horns and keyboards, Jeff Carp's harp fills and top production. It is a testament to producer Norman Dayron that he had the vision, and was able to bring a sometimes testy Wolf together with these young dudes and make music worthy of the legend. As the Wolf is moved to say near the end of Wang Wang Doodle ''Lemmie howl for ya!''