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on 27 January 2018
Sound quality is unlistenable on this Hallmark reissue - no bottom, no middle, all treble. This is some of Howlin Wolf and Willie Dixons very best material from the Indian summer of their careers. You would be best to seek out a re-issue with the best available sound quality that captures more of the power and presence and does the tracks justice. Chess sound was below average to start with and blues reissues are a minefield of cheap cash ins and dedicated labours of love. I have heard these tracks in far better sound quality.
2 people found this helpful
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on 8 May 2018
Not special. But ok.
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on 15 February 2016
Love it! Great service.
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on 31 May 2017
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on 24 February 2016
Howlin Wolf is Awesome!!! His sound is one of a kind. Very impressed. I would buy more of his albums.
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on 4 April 2016
as good as expected
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on 18 March 2014
A brief note about mastering before going on with the review, With this 2013 Japanese reissue of The Howlin' Wolf Album (UICY 75960), the end of the final track, 'Back Door Man', has been chopped off. On the original vinyl issue this track brings the album to a close by fading out. Here the song ends abruptly right before the fade should begin, losing approximately the final 25 seconds. I compared the CD with a number of online sources of the album and they also have the chopped ending, so I'm assuming this problem is common to the album in digital form.

Why this flaw exists I have no idea. Why the mastering engineers have chosen to ignore it, I have even less of an idea. Surely it would have been better to fade the song out just prior to the cut? Arguably it would even have been justifiable to "cheat" a little and fix it using a Pro Tooled needledrop for the outro. It seems crazy the record company were happy to let the CD conclude in such a jarring fashion, just cutting the final track dead. If I could speak Japanese I'd email UMG Japan to voice complaint and demand an explanation.

Now for the review......

It's strange seeing this album receive a relatively low level of interest from Amazon customers when it's so incredibly similar to Electric Mud by Muddy Waters, an album which draws a consistantly high Amazon rating and a high level of customer interest.

With which in mind, I feel it only fair to review this release by way of comparison.

Electric Mud and The Howling Wolf Album were recorded around the same time for the same record label, with near-enough the same musicians and the same team on production, with each album sharing a concept; take one vintage Bluesman and jump-start him into the minds of the hip young audience of the day by giving him a Funked-up Acid Rock sound.

Yet although the end result was a pair of albums sounding almost like two-halves of one complete body of work, I would argue the Howlin' Wolf release is distinctly the superior of the pair.

From a purely musical perspective the band sound more in the pocket with Wolf, tighter and more focused, leaving their playing on Electric Mud to come across more as a warm-up for the main game. In both cases the rhythm section set up a firm groove throughout, but its sometimes too loose on Electric Mud. Similarly, the guitar on the latter spends a hugely unneccessary amount of time soloing, as if a deliberate attempt was being made to over-emphasise how "weird" and "wacked out" the kerazy new modern sound was. It sounds forced and is often painfully out of tune. Yet on the Howling Wolf Album the guitar tends to focuse on holding a rhythm or locking into a groove with the rhythm section, creating a sequence of powerful crawling riffs which at times verge on becoming hypnotic.

Put simply, the band rock harder - and better - with Wolf.

From a purely vocal perspective Wolf sounds threatening, dangerous, belligerent. Perfectly in tune with the albums' darkly funky and psychedelicised vibe. In comparison, Waters, although a fantastic and powerful singer, comes across on Electric Mud as being a friendly crowd-pleasing showman having a blast with some young psyched-out chums. His voice lacks the inherent edge of Wolf's. He could just as well be singing exactly the same vocal lines to any style of backing, be that brass, strings, piano, whatever.

Wolf's down and dirty growl suits the bite of this harder-edged style of music far better, and the band perform this harder-edged style of music as if they were born for it. Out of the two albums, The Howlin' Wolf Album sounds like the real deal.....despite the man himself apparently claiming he didn't like it.

The Howling Wolf Album gets a 5 star rating from me, with Electric Mud coming in second with a 3. Although for the mastering of this Japanese edition of The Howlin' Wolf Album, I do feel inclined to deduct one star for that nasty cut at the end of the final track.
17 people found this helpful
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on 29 March 2015
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on 2 January 2016
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on 3 March 2017
Photo on the cover is a tiny bit pixelly. Otherwise a nice repro.
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