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Tag: Howlin’ Wolf

Wednesday, April 6th

basement jukebox

Howlin’ Wolf (vocals, harmonica; 1910-1976), “How Many More Years,” 1951

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lagniappe

random sights

yesterday, Oak Park, Ill.

Friday, December 3rd

timeless

Howlin’ Wolf (aka Chester Burnett, 1910-1976 [voice, harmonica], with Willie Johnson [guitar], Willie Steele [drums]), “Moanin’ at Midnight” (C. Burnett), recorded at Sam Phillips’ Memphis Recording Service (then licensed to Chess Records), 1951

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lagniappe

random sights

a while ago, Chicago

Tuesday, November 5th

sounds of Chicago

Howlin’ Wolf (AKA Chester Burnett, 1910-1976) with Hubert Sumlin (1931-2011, guitar), et al., live, Chicago, 1971

 

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lagniappe

random sights

yesterday, Oak Park, Ill.

Wednesday, March 1st

basement jukebox

Howlin’ Wolf (vocals, harmonica; 1910-1976), “How Many More Years,” “Moanin’ at Midnight,” 1951


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lagniappe

reading table

We drew from the models, and you cannot imagine how fantastically boring it can be to look hour after hour at a beautiful body. But an ugly body can be fascinating.

—photographer Lisette Model (1901-1983), quoted in Colm Toibin, “That Little Minx” (reviewing Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer and Silent Dialogues: Diane Arbus and Howard Nemerov), London Review of Books, 3/2/17

Monday, December 12th

Chicago blues
day one

Howlin’ Wolf (AKA Chester Burnett, 1910-1976), with Hubert Sumlin (guitar), Willie Dixon (bass), et al., “Somestack Lightning,” live, England, 1964


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lagniappe

random sights

last night, Oak Park, Ill.

fullsizerender-18

 

Wednesday, May 7th

basement jukebox

Howlin’ Wolf, “Moanin’ at Midnight,” 1951*


Who needs chord changes?

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lagniappe

musical thoughts

Wolf’s harmonica playing was always the right amount. He would never do anything on the harmonica that would detract from you waiting to get back to Wolf’s voice. . . . There is a certain lonesomeness about the harmonica that just fit the Wolf’s character in voice, in song, in lyric; and he just played that just enough to titillate things he was going to do next with his voice. 

Sam Phillips

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*HW (AKA Chester Burnett [1910-1976], vocals, harmonica), Willie Johnson (guitar), Willie Steel, drums.

 

Tuesday, 12/6/11

 passings

Hubert Sumlin, guitar player, November 16, 1931-December 4, 2011

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Howlin’ Wolf, with Hubert Sumlin (guitar)

“Smokestack Lightning” (AKA “Smoke Stack Lightning”; rec. 1956, Chicago)

In a country that paid proper respect to its cultural heritage, this would be played for children in school, as part of their cultural education. Instead kids encounter it, if at all, on TV—the soundtrack to a Viagra commercial.

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“Back Door Man” (rec. 1960, Chicago)

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“Wang Dang Doodle” (rec. 1960, Chicago)

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lagniappe

musical thoughts

I started listening to people like Hubert Sumlin and trying to deal with a less muscular way of reaching people . . .

Marc Ribot

*****

random thoughts

Rankin, Loda, Cissna Park, Schwer, Gilmer, Watseka: the world is filled with places we’ve never even heard of (many less than 150 miles away), as I was reminded yesterday driving home from Danville, Illinois, where I’d gone to see clients at the prison.

Wednesday, 7/27/11

old stuff
(an occasional series) 

Coolest campaign music ever?

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, campaign commercial
(released 7/21/11, election 8/4/11)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Here’s the original recording, made for Paramount Records, in Grafton, Wisconsin, in 1929.

Charley Patton (AKA Charlie Patton), “High Water Everywhere”

Part 1

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Part 2

Vodpod videos no longer available.

If Captain Beefheart and Tom Waits got their sound from Howlin’ Wolf,
Wolf got his sound right here.

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lagniappe

[A]lthough Patton’s success was undoubtedly due in part to his astonishing abilities as a guitarist, and the depth and soul of his blues singing, it also owed a lot to his professionalism and skill as an entertainer. Friends interviewed in later years would comment on his dependability, the fact that he always showed up on time and took care of business. His performances were masterpieces of showmanship: he was famed for tricks like playing behind his head or between his legs, to the point that some rival musicians disparaged him as a mere trickster. Unfair as this seems to modern listeners, it highlights an important point: To his live audiences, Patton was not the subtle player and singer we hear on the records, nor particularly noted for his soulful depth. He was a man who banged out loud rhythms, shouted so he could be heard to the back of the room, and was a dazzling showman–despite his older, acoustic repertoire, he can in some ways be considered a predecessor to Little Richard and James Brown.

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It is a mistake to view this music through the prism of modern blues, to see Patton and his peers as the progenitors of the first electric Chicago bands, and thus of the barroom boogie bands that fill suburban bars outside every American city. His rhythms are a world–or at least a continent–away from the straight-ahead, 4/4 sound that defines virtually all modern blues. That is why so few contemporary players can capture anything of his greatness. There is the tendency to play his tunes for driving power, missing the ease, the relaxed subtlety that underlay all of his work. It is a control born of playing this music in eight or ten-hour sessions, week after week and year after year, for an audience of extremely demanding dancers, and of remembering centuries of previous dance rhythms–not only the complex polyrhythms of West Africa, but also slow drags, cakewalks, hoedowns, and waltzes.

Elijah Wald

*****

Holly Ridge, Mississippi

Friday, 8/20/10

Here’s more from the guy who, the other day, we heard live in Slovenia.

Bob Dylan, “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'” (2009)

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lagniappe

Howlin’ Wolf (with Hubert Sumlin, guitar; Hosea Lee Kennard, piano; Alfred Elkins, bass; Earl Phillips, drums), “Who’s Been Talking” (Chess Records, Chicago, 1957)

More Howlin’ Wolf? Here.

*****

lagniappe

art beat

The New Yorker (8/16/10) writes of Matisse’s Bathers by a River, which is currently on view, in the exhibit “Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913-1917,”  at the Museum of Modern Art: “it consumes at least as much aesthetic energy as it imparts.” Except when it’s on loan elsewhere, this painting hangs at Chicago’s Art Institute. Over the years I’ve seen it dozens (maybe hundreds) of times. Never once, as I looked at it, did it occur to me how much “aesthetic energy” it was “consum[ing].”

Henri Matisse, Bathers by a River (1909-16)

Tuesday, 1/19/2010

Chicago Blues Festival, part 2

Howlin’ Wolf (with Hubert Sumlin, guitar), live, Chicago, 1966

“How Many More Years”

*****

“Meet Me In The Bottom”

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lagniappe

When I first heard him [Howlin’ Wolf], I said, ‘This is for me. This is where the soul of man never dies.’—Sam Phillips

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