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Please tell me some Wolf stories

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Larry F, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I cannot fathom why Howlin' Wolf is not a huge Internet sensation. He was the coolest, best-sounding blues singer of all time. His voice was incredible and his harp and guitar playing completely served the songs (I am so sick of the phrase, but it applies here as nowhere else). He has one bio out and one film/DVD of his life. But his website is just something run by a guy who has photos to sell.

    I have enjoyed reading about how he came up to Chicago in a station wagon with money in his pocket, unlike other blues singers who didn't have a dime; how he had a form of unemployment insurance for his musicians; how he learned to read in night school; how he took music theory lessons from a Chicago Conservatory professor for a year; how he kept tearin' it up until the end; how only Bill Wyman visited him when the Stones played Chicago right before his death.

    Can you help a bro out and feed me some more Wolf stories?
     
  2. choosymothers

    choosymothers Tele-Meister

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    he also had the best lead guitarist in blues
     
  3. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hubert!

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
  4. stevieboy

    stevieboy Poster Extraordinaire

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  5. Blues Hurler

    Blues Hurler Tele-Holic

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    I'm going to see Hubert this weekend, so I may have some stories after that.
     
  6. walpow

    walpow Tele-Meister

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    Read this. A great biography, and more Wolf stories than you can shake a stick at.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Nodremark

    Nodremark Former Member

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    Do you think because he was a "negro" and made his bones back in the day he might not have gotten the exposure his talent deserved? I'm not race baiting just saying it was a different world in the 30's 40's and 50's. I have never been a big Frank Sinatra fan but after reading some of the things he said and did on behalf of his freind Sammy Davis Jr. I have some new respect for him.
     
  8. stantheman

    stantheman Doctor of Teleocity

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    Park Your Car as close to The Gig as possible and mention to Hubert that You've got a case of cold beer in the trunk. My Brother Bobby has a "Hubert Story" or two...:lol::cool:
     
  9. Tarnisher

    Tarnisher Friend of Leo's

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    I heard Sam Phillips quoted as saying that The Wolf had "the biggest feet I ever saw on a man."
     
  10. Mark Davis

    Mark Davis Telefied Ad Free Member

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    He had to cut slits in the sides of his shoes with razor blades cause he could never find shoes wide enough.

    Another story just going from memory so might not be exactly right. His Mom thought he was playin the devils music and he gave her a $500 bill and she threw it on the floor and stomped on it said it was the devils $$ and woudnt accept it.

    Wolfman Jack famous radio DJ and TV music show host totally copied the Wolfs voice.
     
  11. stevesz

    stevesz Tele-Holic

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    I'm a huge Wolf fan.

    thanks for the tip on the book walpow.

    LarryF, I think you're dead on about his harp and voice and playing style.

    Sad that he died kinda early. Saw somewhere that Clapton bought Wolf's grave stone.
     
  12. Monster Mike Welch

    Monster Mike Welch Tele-Meister

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    Actually, when you think about it, Wolf had at least four of the best lead guitarists of all time:

    Hubert
    Willie Johnson
    Jody Williams
    Pat Hare

    And if you count the prominent sessions that Buddy Guy, Freddy King and Eric Clapton played on, there's even more!

    Hubert's still my personal favorite.
     
  13. choosymothers

    choosymothers Tele-Meister

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    yeah but nobody had hubert's tone like "killin' floor"
     
  14. Maxwell Street

    Maxwell Street Friend of Leo's

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    I was talking to Hubert...he told me Wolf made him remove his calluses, Hubert has big hands, guess the calluses were getting in the way....
     
  15. Porchduck

    Porchduck Tele-Meister

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    Wolf had big hands

    My wife and I met Mr. Burnett at an outdoor concert at Southern Il Univ, Carbondale, back in the 70's. The thing that struck us both was: 1. He was a leviathon of a man; and 2. He had immense hands - when he shook our hands, he engulfed them. We loved his music and he was very gracious to us. (Don't know where Hubert was at the time we were talking w/Wolf - could he have been off havin a beer out of somebody's trunk?)

    Mary Clayton sang there also on same bill. (She sang with Jagger on "Gimme Shelter", among other things.) She was hot ;) and was also a fantastic soloist. Wore a sheer, see-through black shirt that seemed to grab your attention quite nicely. :eek:

    Great concert!
     
  16. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Here's my little Howlin' Wolf story:

    I was in high school and getting interested in the guitar in the early 90s, right when Clapton's Unplugged album came out, as well as Led Zeppelin's box set with the crop circles on the cover. I kjnew a lot of the stuff they played were covers or reworkings of old blues material, so I decided to go right to the source, and started finding the original versions of all those songs I could find. Spent a lot of time browsing through racks of cheap cassettes and finding all sorts of B sides and gems. Zeppelin's "The Lemon Song" lead me right to Wolf's "Killing Floor," which I found I loved even more.

    Fast forward a couple of years: I'd gone to Chicago for college, the South side. I read later that my dorm was about 4 blocks from one of Willie Dixon's old apartments. I was still browsing the cheap cassette racks and finding all sorts of cool things, including a double album that had Albert King on one side and Little Milton on the other. I traded a pair of combat boots for Robert Johnson's Complete Recordings on CD. Best trade I ever made.

    So one day I had to take the train somewhere, and at Northwestern Station I came up the elevator to be surprised by an image of Howlin' Wolf, big as life. It was a Gap ad, of all things: "Howlin Wolf wore khaki." He was holding either an Epi Riviera or Casino (and I love all guitars that resemble a 335) with his head thrown back like he was howlin at the moon. I hate the Gap, but I was in love anyway. Spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around with a big, stupid grin on my face.

    Fast forward another couple of years and I'd left Chicago, and internet search engines were developed to the point of being useful. I finally managed to track down the original photographer of that Gap ad, hoping to be able to get a poster. I wrote to him and he told me a little bit about the story of the photo shoot and how he knew Wolf. He was a nice guy, but unfortunately not willing to make posters of his photos. Art prints only. (If you didn't know, art prints are super expensive.)

    The story of the Gap ad is that they used the photo without his permission. Apparently they thought it was in the public domain, so he had to sue for restitution.

    http://www.howlingwolfphotos.com/

    [​IMG]
     
  17. JTM45blues

    JTM45blues Tele-Afflicted

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    Not really a Wolf story, but if you wanna really go back to "the source" for much of what is now West Coast blues guitar, look up the early Wolf stuff in Memphis with Willie Johnson. That guy INVENTED that style of big, fat slashing jazz chords, chromatic licks and always swingin and groovin it HARD. I love Hubert, but I honestly think Wolf's best guitarist was Willie Johnson. Of course Pat Hare and Jody Williams were no slouches either.

    Also Wolf's book is very, very good as is the Howlin Wolf Story DVD.
     
  18. Maxwell Street

    Maxwell Street Friend of Leo's

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    I was at SIU at the time....was bombed and missed the show..ugh...free show behind the Bursar's office....
     
  19. Blues Hurler

    Blues Hurler Tele-Holic

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    Good tip, thanks. Willie's really got the stuff.
     
  20. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

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    I got nothin....





    ...but huge respect for a huge talent.


    Maxwell, you're a lucky son-of-a-gun to get to talk to Hubert. JTM45, thanks for the tip on Willie Johnson. I'm going to run that down. I love this place because of stuff like that. And on a side note did you know the "T" in JTM stood for Terry, Jim's wife at the time?
     
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