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The best single-disc overview of a great career,
This review is from: Howlin' Wolf: His Best -Chess 50th Anniversary Collection (Audio CD)
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.