Howlin' Wolf

Howlin' the Blues

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Music Avenue has assembled some pretty wonderful budget compilations and this one falls right into line with the best of them. Like the Muddy Waters compilation, Howlin' the Blues contains 41 cuts spanning two discs. The first one makes up the lion's share of Howlin' Wolf's Memphis years at Sun Records and kicks off with "Moanin' at Midnight," where the hoodoo magic of Chester Burnett's voice, Hubert Sumlin's guitar, and Willie Dixon's bass. There are a number of pianists on these sessions including Sunnyland Slim, Ike Turner, and Otis Spann. The original versions of all the classics are here: "Moanin' at Midnight," "Evil," "How Many More Years," and "I'm the Wolf" among them. Disc two is live in Bremen with a crack back who literally roars through tracks such as "Goin' Down Slow," "Shake for Me," "Little Red Rooster," and "Wang Dang Doodle," just to name a few. There are journeyman liner notes by Alfie Falckenbach, who is the series producer. For the money, this set cannot be beat.

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