Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Howlin' Wolf
His Best

Released 1997 on MCA/Chess
Reviewed by Le Samourai, 24/05/2002ce

For the moment, just forget about all the blooze and boogie
rockers that he influenced like Eric Clapton and the like. Just listen to the man by yourself. This is one unearthly voice pouring his heart, soul and guts out to you. It’s primal, personal stuff that is some of the most haunting and intense music African Americans made during the 20th Century.

Chester “Howlin’ Wolf” Burnett and his band (with Hubert Sumlin on guitar and Willie Dixon on bass) just burn like incense through this album. It starts with “Moaning At Midnight” with the Wolf moaning like he’s a church minister or voodoo priest (or both) through an incredible trance blues number. Then it’s on to heavyweights like “Forty-Four”, “Smokestack Lightin’”, “I Asked For Water”, “Wang Dang Doodle”, “Back Door Man”, “Spoonful”. “I Ain’t Superstitious”, "Killing Floor" and many others with no let up in passion.

You probably know that Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, The Yardbirds, The Animals, The Rolling Stones, The Jeff Beck Group, Rod Stewart and Stevie Ray Vaughan dig him but this disc more than proves why The Doors, Captain Beefheart, Lou Reed, Nick Cave, That Petrol Emotion and PJ Harvey love him too.

I couldn’t find or afford the *definitive* look at his catalog,
The Chess Box (a 3 CD set from MCA/Chess) but if you see that don’t pass it up either.

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