Friday, January 22, 2010

Howlin' WOLF - Howlin' Wolf 1962

Howlin' WOLF - Howlin' Wolf 1962


A formidable blues album that assembles a true all-star blues team: Wolf’s rasp, Willie Dixon’s songwriting, and Hubert Sumlin’s guitar hooks, and on some tracks, Otis Spann’s piano. Many of the songs (Wang-Dang Doodle especially) are really blues/rock rather than straight blues—fast tempo, upbeat, and not in the 12-bar format. Because this album collects the singles at a peak in Wolf’s career, it almost sounds like a greatest hits album. Many of these tracks have unforgettably catchy hooks, especially songs like Spoonful, and Howlin’ for My Darling.

The songs on this album were covered by some of the greatest groups of the 60’s: the Stones (Little Red Rooster, Down in the Bottom), Cream (Spoonful), the Doors (Back Door Man), and the Animals (Going Down Slow). The versions here all have a vitality that some of the later versions match but, in my opinion, never surpass—Wolf’s vocals are simply too good. I managed to obtain an original pressing, which is inexplicably rare, especially given the consistently high quality of these tracks. This album should have sold millions when it was released—an unfortunate victim of poor timing. Had this album been released ten years earlier or a few years later, it likely would have sold a lot more copies.
A1. Shake for Me   2:12
A2. The Red Rooster   2:22
A3. You'll Be Mine   2:23
A4. Who's Been Talkin'   2:18
A5. Wang-Dang-Doodle   2:18
A6. Little Baby   2:43
B1. Spoonful   2:42
B2. Going Down Slow   3:18
B3. Down in the Bottom   2:05
B4. Back Door Man   2:45
B5. Howlin' for My Baby   2:28
B6. Tell Me   2:52