Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Howlin' WOLF - The London Sessions 1971
About ten years after his career´s best times Howlin' Wolf was still very capable to make exceptionally good blues. The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions is a very fine blues-record that features great musicians like Eric Clapton and Charlie Watts. Also a minor appereance of Ringo Starr.
Thirteen songs. Classic stuff like "Rockin' Daddy", "Sitting on the Top of the World" and "Poor Boy", but also "The Red Rooster" and "I Ain´t Superstitious", the huge numbers written by Willie Dixon, maybe the greatest songwriter of blues-music.
Chester Burnett´s unbelievable voice and these classic songs backed up by other legends are an combination that forms this perfect LP. I also have to praise Willie Dixon once again. Almost a half of this album´s songs are written by him. By writing numerous blues classics for Wolf like "The Red Rooster" or "I Ain´t Superstitious" (which are also on this album) he was one of the reasons why Howlin' Wolf remains as one of the biggest names of blues.
When you take Howlin' Wolf-one of the greatest Chicago bluesmen ever-and put him together with Eric Clapton, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts and Steve Winwood, what do you get? You get one exciting blues album. I read somewhere that blues purists don't like this album, but I know from listening to it that this is pure, electric, energetic, rockin' blues.
The album starts off strong; the first thing you hear is Clapton's beautiful slide guitar riff on "Rockin' Daddy." On this track, we have Phil Upchurch on bass, Winwood on piano, The Wolf's long time lead guitarist Hubert Sumlin on rhythm guitar, Charlie Watts on drums, and The Wolf himself singing the vocals in his famous growling stlyle. We hear a wonderful solo from Clapton, who plays off the melody of the tune beautifully.
Ringo plays drums on "I Ain't Superstitious" and the results are awesome. With a horn section (Joe Miller, Jordan Sandke, Dennis Lansing) holding the roots of the chords, and Clapton playing a slide riff to back The Wolf's vocals, we get a truly great jam.
The rest of the album is as exciting has the first two songs. We hear Jeffrey M. Carp's soulful harp on "Sittin' On Top Of The World," and The Wolf's vocals are just as astounding. Clapton adds another creative solo, again playing off the beautiful melody of the song. Later in the album, we hear the amusing Willie Dixon tune "Built For Comfort" in which the horn section mentioned before adds its unique touch. "Highway 49" is one of the highlights of the album, with classic guitar riffs and The Wolf's soulful, bluesy singing. You get the feeling that no one could sing this song like The Wolf. Basically, when buying blues, you can't go wrong with Howlin' Wolf. Overall, this album is excellent. It is a beautiful display of classic blues performed by an all-star cast.
By Greg Tallent.
A1. Rockin' Daddy 3:43
A2. I Ain't Superstitious 3:34
A3. Sittin' on Top of the World 3:51
A4. Worried About My Baby 2:55
A5. What a Woman! 3:02
A6. Poor Boy 3:04
B1. Built for Comfort 2:10
B2. Who's Been Talking? 3:03
B3. The Red Rooster [Rehearsal] 1:58
B4. The Red Rooster 3:47
B5. Do the Do 2:20
B6. Highway 49 2:47
B7. Wang-Dang-Doodle 4:29