57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Collection (Audio CD)
A welcome budget price collection by one of the most charismatic and influential blues artists of all time. Many of Wolf's best known numbers are here, commencing with 'How Many More Years' from his first session in 1951 in Sam Phillips' Memphis studio, and continuing through the 1954 to 1965 period with Chess Records. The material is licensed from MCA, and therefore in excellent sound quality, with stereo mixes being used on some of the later dates. Just reading the titles reveals that most of the essential tracks are present, including the ones that were to feature strongly in the white blues boom of the 1960s: 'The Little Red Rooster', 'Spoonful', 'Killing Floor', and the inevitable 'Smokestack Lightnin''.
Wolf's songs were notable for their innovative lyrics, mostly composed by Willie Dixon, who, as a member of the Chess house band, played bass on many of these numbers. The CD could almost be considered a tribute to Dixon's songwriting talents. The lyrics of 'Tail Dragger' are particularly interesting in that they describe how the prowling wolf would wipe his tracks out with his tail, a theme borrowed from the 1930 recording 'Howling Wolf Blues No.3' by J.T. 'Funny Paper' Smith, the original Howling Wolf, from whom Chester Burnett obtained his pseudonym.
The rich, dynamic sound of the original recordings is well captured on this reissue, with the stunning guitar of Hubert Sumlin well to the fore on most numbers, and Otis Spann's piano featured here and there, including 'Wang Dang Doodle' and the moody 'Evil'. If you don't already own these classic recordings then this is an excellent place to start.