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Howlin' Wolf....bad dog guitar!

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by Wally, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. bowman

    bowman Friend of Leo's

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    Wolf has always been my favorite of all of the blues guys. He was bigger than all of 'em, pun intended. When I first heard him sing, many years ago, I had never seen a picture of him. But I remember thinking, "holy crap, what a voice - that guy sounds like he's huge!" And of course, he was.
     
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  2. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    In a biography of Muddy Waters, I read an anecdote that Mr. Burnett ran his band like a business (withholding taxes and social security for his employees/bandmates), and resisted the "Screw the artist financially" machinations of the Chess Brothers quite ably---but still fell victim to "creative accounting" on the part of the latter.

    According to the book, one of their tricks was to give an artist a Cadillac (hence the movie's title) but later, when the artist asked for some payment for their records, the Chesses would claim that money from the royalties/record sales were being withheld to pay for said automobile...the artists didn't understand "advances on sales." (that happened to many, many artists over the years, not just Chess artists).

    When proffered the keys to a Caddy, Wolf reportedly said, "I got me a Pontiac that runs just fine outside--give me my money!"

    Toward the end of Wolf's life, he hired an idealistic young lawyer (one of the most dangerous things on earth, lol) who audited the books and "found" how grossly underpaid the artists had been. It was quite a windfall for him (and later, Muddy, who hired the same guy) at a time when his health was failing badly.

    I too am enamored by "Smokestack Lightning" and that drone-y, atmospheric and hypnotic rhythm line.
     
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  3. jaimed

    jaimed Poster Extraordinaire

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  4. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Poster Extraordinaire

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    Definitely Willie Johnson on guitar. Also check out Patt Hare. Same sort of sound.

    And Joe Willie Wilkens who played with sonny boy early on.


    But don't forget that jr Barnard was making sounds like this in the mid 40s.
     
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  5. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Nothing like muddy and the wolf. That music is eternal and spoke to so many people.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 1, 2017
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  6. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Okay...here's two hours of the Wolf.....something to work on guitars by for me.

     
  7. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Poster Extraordinaire

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    Does everybody realize that Pat Hare was on guitar at the famous Muddy Waters at Newport Folk Festival 1960?

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. jaimed

    jaimed Poster Extraordinaire

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  9. brogh

    brogh Moderator Staff Member

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    I was just looking for something cool to listen to .. well thank you all guys !

    ;)
     
  10. TommyG

    TommyG NEW MEMBER!

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    Yup, same guitar as in the B&W pics, and a GREAT sounding instrument!
     
  11. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    When I lived in Chicago, one of the checkers at a southside Walgreen's would chat with me and some friends about the blues scene in Hyde Park in the 50s. She especially loved Wolf, who she said would stop playing at midnight, and start emitting soft, then louder and louder wolf howls, which were the highlight of the show.

    Wolf was a remarkable person, proud of the fact that he made the move to Chicago in his own station wagon and money in his pocket. Not only did he pay his musicians well, but provided them with "unemployment insurance," to keep them in green even when the band wasn't working.

    It has been known for a long time, I believe, that Wolf not only learned how to read and write in adult education classes, but also took music theory lessons for a year from a classical music professor at The Chicago Musical College, a division of Roosevelt University in the south loop on Michigan Avenue.

    Listening to Smokestack Lightning in the Cadillac Records film, I am reminded of the power of his phrasing and its rhythmic articulation. What is funny, is that Willie Dixon has remarked that when Wolf was taught a new song in the studio, if he messed up the rhythm, it stayed messed up, and he was supposedly not able to adjust to the correct rhythm. Smokestack wasn't one of those songs, fortunately. What rhythmic drive his voice has in this song. And Hubert certainly did his bit to contribute to this uber-classic blues masterpiece. Wish I could have seen him or even talk to him. Both he and Muddy contributed so much to the Chicago scene of their time. Both men are every bit the musical geniuses of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and a few other composers of earlier generations. The context is way different, but the melody, rhythm, and arrangements are every bit as sophisticated and nuanced as they are with Beethoven and others. Wolf and Ludwig stand side by side in historical stature, as far as I'm concerned. I pity those who cannot hear this in their music. Genius is genius, no matter with three chords, one chord, or many chords.
     
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  12. Shidoin

    Shidoin Tele-Holic

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    Definitely Willie Johnson on the cut in question. Wolf name checks him on another song from that same session.
    Does not get any better than the Wolf!
     
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  13. davidge1

    davidge1 Friend of Leo's

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    Willie Johnson is the guitar player on the Memphis stuff. The guy with the real distorted tone.

    I'm not a big blues fan, but I love Howlin' Wolf. The first time I heard Howlin' Wolf was when I was 14 and my friend played me an old stratchy copy of the album Evil ... I couldn't believe that music like that existed. I had never heard anything like it.
     
  14. slauson slim

    slauson slim Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    The Mighty Wolf schooling the English boys on Little Red Rooster - from The London Sessions.

     
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  15. SUPROficial

    SUPROficial TDPRI Member

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    Willie Johnson, Pat Hare, and Joe Willie Wilkins are my guitar heroes.
    I spent most of my teenage years learning their stuff note for note.
    To me those three were what 'Hendrix, Clapton and Page' are for 'normal' people.
     
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  16. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've spent a fair amount of time digging into their styles. Great under-appreciated players. The 50's stuff with Robert Lockwood jr. is great too. His stuff with Little Walter and then the Ace's. Always reminded me of coming from the Johnson, Hare, Wilkins camp than straight up Chicago blues of the day. Very different from the Buddy Guy sort of thing (even early BG).
     
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  17. EllroyJames

    EllroyJames Friend of Leo's

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    Willie Johnson!!

     
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  18. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    This is where I always want to send people who think joe bonamassa is a blues guitarist.:)

    Wolf was a strange dude, it seems. Marshall Chess has said, in interviews, that he thought Wolf was a very stupid man—muddy was very smart, Marshall says, but Wolf was stubbornly dumb. But Wolf stayed out of debt, paid his band well, got them social security, and provided a steady living for his family. There are also lots of stories of him kind of intimidating and bullying Sumlin. I think he was probably a self contained man who was hard to understand and played it close to the vest.

    His lyrics are kind of insane—you can totally see where captain beefheart came from if you listen to smokestack lightening. Wild and surreal. His voice—why doesn’t everybody sing like that? How come instead we get that awful al Jolsonish warbely vibrato thing from so many rockers?

    Wolf was a seargeant in the army but got discharged after what they used to call a nervous breakdown.

    Sam Phillips plays an interesting role. He saw wolf as a kind of rough primitive and a lot of those rough Memphis recordings are Sam's vision of what the blues were supposed to be. It’s worth noticing that wolf didn’t stick around with Sam, he got out of there as soon as possible.

    There are lots of stories that claim willie Dixon would whisper the lyrics in wolfs ear right there in the studio, while they were recording. Supposedly you can hear this on some of the chess recordings. I’ve never heard it.

    It’s amazing music.
     
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  19. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

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    Why doesn't everyone sing like that? Indeed.
    Any why doesn't anybody write "blues" songs about things like trains, automobiles, farm animals, and such? Current songs are weak by comparison in imagery and content.
    Sorry, but this does not impress
    [​IMG]
     
  20. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Meister

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    Sort of a zombie thread... but I stumbled across it when looking for some background info on this guitar.

    I went to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix yesterday. It's there:

    [​IMG]
     
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