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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best single-disc overview of a great career, 16 Nov 2002
By 
Docendo Discimus (Vita scholae) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
If you're only ever going to buy one Howlin' Wolf-album (why? why would you want to to that?), this is the one to get.
Howlin' Wolf recorded some two hundred songs during his long career, and with room for 20 only, some hard choices must have been made by the compilers.
Chester Arthur Burnett, the Howlin' Wolf, stood about 6'4" and weighed close to three hundred pounds in his prime, and his huge, gravelly roar of a voice sounds positively frightening on early cuts like "Moanin' At Midnight" and "How Many More Years", the latter track (probably) featuring Ike Turner on piano.
The songwriting credits are shared about equally by the omnipresent Willie Dixon, who plays bass on most of the cuts as well, and the Wolf himself, and "Hidden Charms" features perhaps the greatest guitar solo ever comitted to tape, courtesy of the hugely underestimated Hubert Sumlin, Wolf's right-hand man for more than twenty years.
Other highlights include "Forty-Four", "Smokestack Lightnin'", "The Red Rooster" and the phenomenal "Killing Floor", written by Howlin' Wolf, shamelessly stolen by Led Zeppelin and covered by several others, but never surpassed, and featured here in the ultimate version, sporting an incredible catchy guitar riff by Hubert Sumlin, and solos by Buddy Guy.
This is a corner stone in any serious blues collection. Hard-rocking, bone-crunching electric blues, burning with the sheer ferocity of Chester Burnett's incredible voice. There was never anyone like the Wolf, and it doesn't seem likely that there will be.
Oh, and while you're at it, get "His Best vol. II" as well.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thirteen pounds of Joy (unless it's on discount), 16 Aug 2004
When the deep voice of Wolf breaks into your bedroom in Moanin' at Midnight you'll wonder what hit you. The songs on this album beautifully represent Wolf's versatility and talent and allow for several types of the Blues to emerge. Bebop is represented by How Many More Years and the Mississppi delta by Sitting on Top of the World (originally by the memphis sheiks). The eclectic mix of styles highlight the variety of Howlin' Wolf. When singing electric blues, backed by Hubert Sumlin, the power of Wolf really emerges and tracks like Hidden Charms and Shake for Me are true Chicago blues. However, the true gems on this album are in his less celebrated tracks like Who's Been Talkin and Moanin' at Midnight, while the great tracks of I Aint Superstitious and Killing Floor round of a great album.
If you want to hear great blues which spans Chicago and the Mississippi delta, if you want to hear the real commercial alternative to Muddy Waters in the Chicago blues and if you want to hear one of the greatest artists in music who inspired such legends as the Rolling Stones then buy this and hear some excellently compiled Howlin' Wolf.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Howling with the Wolf, 16 Nov 2010
Excellent overview of the music of Howling Wolf in terms of songs and sound quality. Just amazing how such a limited range of musical instruments and a voice can provide such a variety of rhythms and effects.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most instantly recognisable voice in the Blues, 24 May 2011
In the U K Howlin' Wolf was issued by the London American label around 1958 via an EP probably selling 10 copies.
The facts are that this sort of music was never programmed on American radio stations as it sounded too threatening
It was down to the British to act as a catalyst once the Stones had entered the picture.The band who'd take a Wolf song to No 1 and invite him onto Shindig and later to the UK to record an album for their own Rolling Stones Records.
The first Wolf comps were issued by Pye on budget labels as the floodgates opened.
Never off the catalog there's dozens of CDs including this one which is wide open for its 60th Anniversary and beyond
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars like draging hot glass across asphalt, 23 May 2005
By 
This has to be one of my favourite blues albums, this really is good. Once you've heard killing floor you will be sold, and once you hear wolf's voice you will never forget it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality recordings that capture "the Wolf's" pure energy., 30 Jan 2013
By 
R. J. Farrer (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Chester Burnett (Howlin Wolf) had that huge physical 'presence' that made an audience think it was witnessing something special. Robert Cray is the only other bluesman I've seen with such power, although some John Lee Hooker tracks capture the same sense of 'danger'. Some actors also have this capacity to dominate a stage, the late and great Ken Campbell comes to mind; likewise Mark Rylance. It is a rare gift.

The recordings here cover the period from 1951 to the mid sixties. All the classic Wolf tracks are here, inc. 'Moanin at Midnight', 'Smokestack Lightnin', 'Howlin for my Darlin', 'Killing Floor' and 'How Many More Years?' There are also excellent covers of some Willie Dixon numbers including: 'Back Door Man', 'Spoonful' and 'Built for Comfort, Not for Speed'. James Oden's 'Goin Down Slow' also gets the Wolf's treatment, to good effect.
Much effort has gone into good sound quality on this Chess Masters production (there is a lot of disappointing muffled rubbish out there).
The CD also demonstrates that he was a great harmonica player and original guitarist.

A bargain for blues fans.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greats., 17 Jun 2004
By A Customer
A solid collection from one of the greats of the blues. If you don't know that Howlin' Wolf is himself a classic you know nothing about the blues. Simple rhythmic backing with the right feel and timing is beyond most white "blues" guitarists. The Stones worshipped and adored the Wolf and Muddy Waters. They were their gods and when they got to play with them they were in heaven.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Howlin' Wolf, 10 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Howlin' Wolf: His Best -Chess 50th Anniversary Collection (MP3 Download)
What a star, sadly missed. These recordings will have you there with him in a smoke filled beer-hall, feet tapping, smiling with enjoyment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this, you wont regret it!!!, 25 Jun 2013
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SingerI feel Howling Wolf is one of the best, if not the best blues that ever lived. This C D has all his best work especially Smokestack Lightening. He is fantastic!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars useless review!, 21 May 2013
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Great great great! only when you listen again to the roots do you understand how much we still actually listen to these guys everyday. Smokestack lightning!
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