Howlin' Wolf

Live and Cookin' at Alice's Revisited

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The 1972 live album Live and Cookin' at Alice's Revisited is a great document of Wolf toward the end, still capable of bringing the heat and rocking the house down to the last brick. Of special note are the wild and wooly takes on "I Had a Dream," "I Didn't Know," and Muddy Waters' "Mean Mistreater." There are mistakes galore out of the band and some P.A. system feedback here and there, both of which only add to the charm of it all. [A compact-disc reissue added two stellar bonus cuts. The first one, "Big House," first showed up on a hodge-podge Wolf bootleg album from the '70s. Its non-appearance on the original album is somewhat of a mystery since it's arguably one of the best performances here. Set at a medium tempo, Wolf stretches out comfortably for over seven minutes, singing certain verses he likes two or three times as the band locks in with deadly authority. Certainly any list of great Howlin' Wolf vocal performances would have to include this one. The second bonus track, "Mr. Airplane Man," is Wolf working his one-riff-fits-all voodoo for all it's worth. You can tell from note one of his vocal entrance that the pilot light of inspiration is fully lit and the ensuing performance is the Wolf at his howlin' best.]

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