Category Archives: Howlin’Wolf

Special version Built For Comfort – Howlin’ Wolf

Special version Built For Comfort – Howlin’ Wolf

In November 1968 Howlin’ Wolf recorded for Cadet Concept Records (a subsidiary of Chess Records) the Howlin’ Wolf Album which contains a whole different sound than we are used from Wolf. The album incorporates use of wah-wah pedal and fuzzbox, unconventional rhythms, beats and influences from Psychedelic Rock. Producer Marshall Chess augmented the rhythm of Howlin Wolf’s live band with the use of electric organ and saxophone.

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From The Super Super Blues band a classic blues song “Long Distance Call”

super super blues band black bull blues -
From The Super Super Blues band a classic blues song “Long Distance Call”

In 1968 Chess studios released a unique album it was a collaboration of the greatest blues musician of that time; Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Bo Diddley recorded The Super Super Blues Band. This album is full of rocking blues classics, produced by Willie Dixon under the supervision of Phil and Marshall Chess. The fun part of this albums is that all three legends sings and play on every song together. You will hear Howlin’ Wolf sing Bo Diddley’s song “Diddley Daddy and  Muddy sings along on Wolf’s classic “Spoonful“.

Wrecking My love Life

A song you can listen all day is “Wrecking My Love Life”, besides the vocals of Muddy, Wolf and Diddley that really blast out of your speakers like it is a jam that is played in front of you, a magnificent woman sings soulful ‘woohoowoo baby…’ throughout the song. Wrecking My love Life is a blues version of Reggae.

Long Distance Call – Muddy Waters

Long Distance Moan – Blind Lemon Jefferson

Long Distance Call the 3 versions

Long Distance Call was first released in 1951 by Chess and reached #8 in the R&B chart. The song originates in the song “Long distance Moan” released by Texas bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson in 1929. While Muddy changed the name and lyrics of the song slightly, in the music you still hear a lot of moaning. Long Distance Call is a great example of the modern blues, there aren’t a lot of songs that show so good how blue someone can become as Long distance call. This song gets in your veins, bones and soul. Not only because of the lyrics but also through the guitar, the slow drums and the interludes that make this song so magical.

In comparison to the original Muddy Waters version, on the Super Super Blues band Record Long Distance Call is transformed into a rocking blues song. Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Sing and the slow drums are changed into a rhythmic beat. The guitar screams are replaced by harmonica grooves.

Long Distance Call – Super Super Blues Band

 Diddley Daddy

Diddley Daddy is another song worth listening on Super Super Blues Band. Diddley Daddy was recorded on May 15, 1955 in Chicago and became a signature song of Bo Diddley. It is cool to hear how Howlin’ Wolf easily takes over the lyrics of Bo. Like the original version, the Super Super blues band version is rockin’ blues. Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters make the song grooving like a jam. Interesting about this song is the 1963 cover by the Rolling Stones which was part of their first demo recording.

Rolling Stones – Diddley Daddy

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Message to the Young: Howlin’ Wolf’s most funking blues album

Message to the Young: Howlin’ Wolf most funking blues album

In 1971 Howlin’ Wolf released two albums. I earlier wrote about the London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions, an album Wolf cooperated with Eric Clapton for. But the other 1971 album: Message To The Young is maybe the funkiest Howlin’ Wolf record you will find. This record kept me awake all night listening funky Howlin’ Wolf blues and drinking a fair amount of beer.

I Smell a Rat, the favorite song

My favorite song on this album is “I Smell a Rat” a song you really dig that grooving guitar throughout the song.
Feel that bass flying over the string like boemboem, boemboem, boem boem… Hear Wolf sing “I Smell A Rat baby, someone start to sneak around. I Smell a Rat Baby, I ain’t no Fool”. You really feel the songs energy and move along with it.

She’s looking good is also a a true funking song. Great about this hit! Are the trumpet and the trombone highlighting the songs groove. Message to The Young another great song on this album is worth listening a couple of times in a row. Wolf teaches the blues singing: “I’ve been playing blues for a long time that’s why I sing the blues. That’s why I moan sometimes, you just want to moan”.

Howlin’ Wolf’s Blues Guitarists

Just as Long is one of the songs the Guitar really gets you listening. Guitarist Jon Stocklin of the Rotary Connection plays the guitar together with Bryce Roberson who was a guitarist, bass player and engineer at the Chess Studio in Chicago. Stocklin’s Rotary Connection was the backing band for most of the cadet concept recordings. A fusion and psychedelic band known for recording the Electric Mud album .

Howlin’ Wolf was such a versatile musician since he picked up the guitar and harmonica in Mississippi. For the cadet concept label Wolf made a psychedelic album, for chess he made straight Chicago blues and with Message to the Young funking blues and for Sun Folk blues. All the Howlin’ Wolf Albums are worth listening, but don’t forget Message to The bull blues 2015-02-28 17.45.50

Howlin’ Wolf – Message To The Young ( Full Album ) 1971

1.If I Were A Bird
2.I Smell A Rat
3.Miss James
4.Message To The Young
5.She’s Looking Good
6.Just As Long
7.Romance Without Fiance
8.Turn Me On

Note: all rights reserved to Howlin’ Wolf , these videos are for entertainment purposes only


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Classic Blues Songs and Traditional: Goin’ Down Slow

Classic Blues Songs and Traditional: Goin’ Down Slow

Some blues songs contributed so much to the history of blues and music that the can be named classic songs, or even a traditional. A few musicians have that honour. One of them is St. Louis Jimmy Oden. Goin’ Down Slow’ written by his hand in 1941 is covered over a forty times, and in my opinion it would still be a hit.

This November it rained so hard you wouldn’t think about goin´ out on the street. And yeah there was I walking to the city centre. Muddy Waters, best recordings was on headphone. The song: Goin’ Down Slow. It was what you can call right song on the right time. Wet from the rain, and cold from the wind. After Muddy version was finished. I searched for more versions while freezing my hands of. Wolf, Walter, Dupree, Charles and Sonny Terry’s Goin’ Down Slow made that terrible walk a pleasure. I searched around and found a whole lot of covers of Oden’s Masterpiece. Some of old dogs in blues, also a lot of new bluesman.

The Original: St. Louis Jimmy Oden Blues composer

St. Louis Jimmy Oden was a profilic composer from St. Louis alongside Roosevelt Sykes, Oden travelled throughout the south, mid-west and eventually settled in Chicago. Those days piano and guitar teams where popular around St. Louis. Odin recorded Goin’ Down Slow on November 11, 1941, and was issued on Bluebird records that year.

Other recording Goin’ Down Slow

More than forty times this traditional blues song had been recorded. Champion Jack Dupree, Roosevelt Sykes and Ray Charles where the first musicians to cover Oden’s hit. Almost every recording of Goin’ Down Slow stays close to the original. Howlin’ Wolf however, slightly changed some of the lyrics with the help of Willie Dixon. Wolf and Dixon made a greet dialog song of Goin’ Down Slow. How life for a man slowly slips away. Especially this rhyme:

“Man, you know I done enjoyed things
That Kings and Queens will never have
In fact, Kings and Queens can never get
And they don’t even know about it and good times?”

Howlin’ Wolf – Goin’ Down Slow

The bluesman who dominated the scene for a whole lot of years Howlin’ Wolf recorded Goin’ Down Slow in 1961 for Chess Record. His version is the grittiest, darkest and baddest of all, and therefore maybe the best. You would think It was written for Howlin’ Wolf. Willie Dixon added a few lyrics to the song.

“Now looky here, I did not say I was a millionaire
But I said I have spent more money than a millionaire
‘Cause if I had kept all of the money I done already spent
I would’ve been a millionaire, a long time ago
And women? Great googly moogly”

Little Walter – Goin’ Down Slow

Especially the intro of Walter’s Goin’ Down Slow is amazing, this true electric version is like a opera. Walter really creates the tradegy of the song, and makes it a real blues hit. The electric guitar part is deep and leading in this song. You wouldn’t expect such a leading guitar part in a Little Walter song.

Cousin Joe – Goin’ Down Slow

Down in New Orleans Cousin Joe recorded Goin’ Down Slow in 1994 on his Bad Luck Blues Album. Like you would expect from Cousin Joe the piano is a bit groovy, but Joe’s voice is the key to listening to this song. Joe preaches slow.

Sonny Terry & Brownie MC Ghee – Goin’ Down Slow

Like you would expect from Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee they turn this blues traditional into a Delta Folk mixer. Like most of the versions Goin’ Down Slow is a slow song, but Sonny adds with his harmonica a whole lotta groove into the composition.

BB King – Goin’ Down Slow

One of the few who make this Goin’ Down Slow a groovy rhythm full song is BB King. Especially the ongoing beat makes this song. But BB soulful voice is absolute fantastic.

After listening to al the version of Jimmy Oden’s masterpiece I really favoured the versions of Wolf and Walter. A few weeks later BB King was the man to listen to. There aren’t that many songs that have been recorded so many times, and that is a great thing about this song. You will change your favourite version a couple of time. But the song never changes.

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Spoonful by Blues Hit Maker Willie Dixon

Men lies about little,
Some of them cries about little,
Some of them dies about littles,
Everything fight about a spoonful,
Dat spoon, dat spoon, dat …

Spoonful by Blues Hit Maker Willie Dixon

Some people understand how music has to be made. How the groove and feel of a song has to fit perfectly with the lyrics. How a song should be performed and how the singer should sing it. Willie Dixon was the hit maker of the blues. A man who was the blues and knew how it should be performed. We can recall a dozen of songs Dixon wrote  like “My Babe”, Hoochie Coochie Man and Little Red Rooster that are absolute blues classics. Today the classic song is “Spoonful”.

Meaning of Spoonful

In his biography I am the Blues, Dixon explained the meaning of the song. It doesn’t take a large amount of anything to be good. If you have a little money when you need it, you’re right there in the right spot. (Willie Dixon, i am the Blues, p 148). Many people thought the song spoonful was a metaphor  for drugs. Especially after Cream covered the song in a psychedelic way on their Fresh Cream album. The song was part of the sixties counter culture .

Willie_Dixon_1979_ Wiki photo by Len Carlson
Willie_Dixon_1979_ Wiki photo by Len Carlson

Willie Dixon wrote the song that was first performed by Howlin’ Wolf in 1960. Dixons´ Spoonful was loosely based on A Spoonful Blues from Charley Patton, recorded in 1929. That song relates to All I Want Is A Spoonful by Papa Charlie Jackson (1925) . Howlin´ Wolf who was known for his howlin’ made a slow and relaxed version of the song, with no howlin’ but accompanied with groovy guitar and rhythmic piano.

After Howlin´Wolf Etta James recorded the song in 1961. For the version of Etta James she added to her golden voice a Bazzy Big Band sound . The song was a duet with Harvey Fuqua recorded like a dialogue between James and Foqua. The interpretation of the song changed a little, the lyrics  relate to men’s sometimes violent search to satisfy their cravings.

Psychedelic version Spoonful: Cream

The most alternative version of Spoonful is without a doubt Creams version. The song was often performed live and lasted easily fifteen minutes. Especially the improvisation of Clapton, Bruce and Baker the song starts with brilliant. On Youtube you can’t find the fifteen or twenty minute version, but these eight minutes are pretty great too!

Willie Dixon greatest Blues hits

Especially in the sixties Spoonful was widely performed by a lot of blues and beat musicians. Other versions of the song I did not mention but are absolutely worth listening are the Q 65 version, a Dutch beat band. Canned Heat’s version of the song or George Thorogood’s.

Spoonful was just one of the great songs of Willie Dixon. He always made his songs work, her recalls it in his biography: “It couldn’t make sense you can’t make peace if you want to make peace”.

Etta James: Spoonful

Cream: Spoonfull

Howlin Wolf – Spoonful (Psychedelic version)

Other Versions of Spoonful on Spotify.

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Cadet Concept Electric Blues music

Just as Phil and Leonard Chess were selling its parent Chess Records to GRT Corporation in 1969, the decision was made to phase out Cadet Concept and its final release was in 1971.

Cadet Concept Electric Blues music

I listen a lot to the albums produced on the Cadet Concept electric blues label of Marshall

Marshall_Chess Cadet Concept photo Jamar Chess
Marshall_Chess Cadet Concept photo Jamar Chess

Chess. The psychedelic Blues label produced some awesome records by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Bo Diddley. The blues is more Funky groovy and I think the albums recorded on this label are still an inspiration for musicians now.
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Howlin´ Wolf The London Sessions

Howlin´ Wolf The London Sessions

He was one of a kind. Nobody I heard before him or after him has had that fantastic delivery—that certain something in his voice that seemed like a sword that’d pierce your soul when he’d sing. Wolf was already a great singer and musician when I first met him. To my mind, he’s one of the greatest ever. We’ll never see another like him.

– BB King –
About the first time he and Howlin’ Wolf met. From Moanin’ at Midnight: The Life and Times of Howlin’ Wolf.

Howlin´ Wolf Album

Howlin’ Wolf released the London Sessions album in 1971 after a collaboration with some of the best British Blues musicians. Wolf recorded over the years many albums at Sun and Chess records, this album was a new thing for Wolf, and the result can best be described as an album that grooves as hell.

Wolf and the British Blues players

Howlin' Wolf at London Sessions
Howlin’ Wolf at The London Sessions

Howlin’ Wolf has no best album or greatest recording because this big man made only hits. He has an unique voice, and for this album he, or actually Chess Records staff producer Norman Dayron, collected some British dreamteam musicians. Mister Slowhands Eric Clapton and the Rhythm section of the Rolling Stones pianist Ian Stewart, bassplayer Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts. Completed with Hubert Sumlin, Steve Winwood and Jeffrey M. Carp.

Blues Milestone

What Howlin’ Wolf and Clapton eventually accomplished with The London Sessions was a set of twelve very groovy modern blues songs. Kicking off with Rocking Daddy  “I’m a Hip-Shakin’ daddy, I can shake like a Willow tree”. And Finishing with, Willie Dixon classic Wang-Dang-Doodle. Especially this song is perfect for the deep and soulful voice of Chester Burnett.  Howlin’ Wolf himself  wasn’t actually that happy with the recordings in London for different reasons. What we do know is that he became more popular after the release.

Howlin’ Wolf The London Sessions Album cover:

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