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The Real Folk Blues

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Album Review

This was originally released by Chess in 1966 to capitalize on the then-current folk music boom. The music, however — a collection of Howlin' Wolf singles from 1956 to 1966 — is full-blown electric, featuring a nice sampling of Wolf originals with a smattering of Willie Dixon tunes. Some of the man's best middle period work is aboard here; "Killing Floor," "Louise," the hair-raisingly somber "Natchez Burning," and Wolf's version of the old standard "Sitting on Top of the World," which would become his set closer in later years. The Mobile Fidelity version sounds as sonically sharp as anything you've ever heard by this artist and its heftier price tag is somewhat justified by the inclusion of two bonus cuts. But those on a budget who just want the music minus the high-minded audiophile concerns will be happy to note that this is also available as a Chess budget reissue. [Originally released in 1966, the LP was reissued on an import-only Japanese CD in 2004.]

Customer Reviews

I should'da been gone

Wolf has always been my key Chicago Blues guy. I bought the vinyl for $3.00 back in the day (1968). I figure I 've gotten my money's worth.

The intro to "Killing Floor" looks back with the two-beat bass as it heads forward on the clank of the guitars. After all, in the final analysis, there's no heavier metal than this.

Biography

Born: June 10, 1910 in West Point, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

In the history of the blues, there has never been anyone quite like the Howlin' Wolf. Six foot three and close to 300 pounds in his salad days, the Wolf was the primal force of the music spun out to its ultimate conclusion. A Robert Johnson may have possessed more lyrical insight, a Muddy Waters more dignity, and a B.B. King certainly more technical expertise, but no one could match...
Full Bio