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Shane’s Rock Challenge: HOWLIN’ WOLF – 1971 – The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions

| 23 April 2014 | Reply

Shane’s Music Challenge: HOWLIN’ WOLF – 1971 – The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions

Howliln' Wolf - The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions cover

In 1970 the mighty Howlin’ Wolf few to London at the behest of Chess producer Drayton to record with some of the hottest kids on the UK Blues scene: Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Keith Richards, Ringo Starr and Ian Stewart all contributed to the sessions.

Wolf’s guitarist Hubert Sumlin also appears on a couple of tracks, and Steve Winwood added keys later on in Chicago, where Drayton added some other flourishes before Mastering.

The result is one of the Wolf’s final highpoints, released just four years before his death in 1975.

Sitting in the No Man’s Land between pure blues, and the then-modern R&B that The Stones, The Beatles, Cream, Traffic, et al were turning into hit after hit, this album was spurned by many on both sides of the fence and criticised for either being too blues or too pop. Funnily enough, I’ve had this album since the 1989 reissue and it seems right on the money to me.

The Blues and R+B come together to great effect, even if tales of the sessions tell of Wolf’s unpleasant disposition and his disaffection at the project in general. To my ears, The London Sessions provided an excellent entry point to I Ain’t Superstitious,
Built for Comfort, Do The Do and Wang Dang Doodle, which prompted further exploration into the amazing legacy of Howlin’ Wolf.

By Shane Pinnegar

Category: Shane's Rock Challenge

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