Blues legend Howlin’ Wolf’s career begins here. Being a multi-instrumentalist and an easily recognised singer, he had a long and successful career ahead of him. This album, his debut album is often seen as a classic in its own way. Let’s dive in and hear if this still the case today.
We kick off with Moanin’ At Midnight which is a sexual tune if there were ever one. Howlin’ Wolf’s fluttering wordless harmonies kick this off, before some harmonica enters and we are underway. Howlin’ Wolf’s vocal delivery and harmonica playing are unique here, over a simple backing band. This is very good music, and very different from most music out there. Simple, yet unique, this is a really good start to the album. Short, yet really good.
Next is How Many More Years which begins with some upbeat piano and an excellent set of melodies, before launching into a classic blues tune. This is also really excellent listening, and is really energetic and powerful from Howlin’ Wolf, although it does sound like he is singing from a distance away. Wonderful, and just a bit different, this is very clever and interesting music. Short in length, at less than three minutes long, but very nice quality listening from Howlin’ Wolf.
Smokestack Lightnin’ is a blues classic, and sounds wonderful from the beginning. Howlin’ Wolf sounds awesome here, and his singing is in its fluttering glory. A very good piece of music, with an excellent melody and a cool sonic backdrop, this is a true classic of its kind. The guitar riff drives this one along, being simple and bluesy. It really must be listened to be appreciated, and is a great pure blues piece. Excellent.
Baby How Long begins with acoustic guitar and piano that intertwines with each other, before Howlin’ Wolf delivers a throaty vocal with some simple lyrics, before harmonica and piano take centre stage. This is a really excellent piece of artistry right here, and is quite musically simple, yet unique and powerful in its appeal. The harmonica and piano here are classic listening here. A fresh and inspired listen, this is great. Nice to hear from Howlin’ Wolf.
Next is No Place To Go (You Gonna Wreck My Life) begins with some odd piano, before Howlin’ Wolf sings about relationship issues over a simple piano and drum backdrop. It is a simple and retro listen of Blues wonder that is really top, and although musically very basic, is a refreshing and different listen. Nice, and different, this is a simple piece that deserves attention, especially if you are a Blues fan. Excellent.
Following is All Night Boogie (All Night Long) which begins with some classic Blues harmonica, alongside some frenetic guitar and some other classy instrumentation in the background. Howlin’ Wolf sings about a lover who ran off into the night, and there is a good harmonica solo here as well. A really top listen, very different to anything out there today, it gets very frenetic towards the end. Not a bad tune.
Evil (Is Going On) begins with Howlin’ Wolf screaming away alongside a piano and a basic musical backdrop that is an awesome Blues tale about a lover who leaves her man during the night to do dirty deeds, seemingly a theme of this album. Musically, it has a top backdrop for Howlin’ Wolf to sing over and is slow, but very exciting, particularly with the piano and harmonica here. A good song about the harm that an affair can do, this is a fine Blues song. Mint.
I’m Leavin You begins with a cool electric guitar intro, before launching into another decent Blues number that is a really excellent piece of music about unfaithful lovers. Needless to say, Howlin’ Wolf sounds very suspenseful and classy here. This is a top listen with some great electric guitar playing and piano, and sounds great, even today. These songs are all very short, and this is no different, clocking in at three minutes long. A decent listen anyway.
Next is Moanin’ For My Baby which begins with a lone harmony based vocal, before going into a proto Green Onions sort of groove. An excellent listen, with some different instrumentation, including a saxophone, thrown into for good measure. Howlin’ Wolf makes up to his namesake here with some really gutsy Blues howling. Sounding quite unlike anything else out there, he delivers as needed. Great song, and nicely delivered.
After that is I Asked For Water which begins with a loose sounding music backdrop to Howlin’ Wolf’s singing about getting gasoline rather than water. A strange sort of song, but another good listen anyway, this is an excellent showcase for the Blues and in particular, how it should be done by a musician. A really great listen, this is different compared to everything else out there, it has an instrumental fade out.
Forty Four begins with more classy piano and guitar, along with some great drumming in the background. Howlin’ Wolf sings in a great way that is unlike anyone else out there in the history of music, and plays a mean harmonica too. Although this music here is very simple, it is a fine way to experience that sort of simplicity. Amazing and good, this music lives on today.
Somebody In My Home is the last cut here. It really is a great tune, along with all the other tunes here. Simple, yet fine and never dull, Howlin’ Wolf delivers nicely with a slow ballad style tune, and proves himself to be a great vocalist and a fine musician. This song is about breaking up with a lover, but just comes across as a brilliant listen all the same. Amazing and good, this is a nice way to finish off this album.
This album is an excellent listen that is designed to be played in the background whilst you are doing something around the house, or something similar. Even if you are not a fan of any sort of Blues music, this can genuinely be appreciated for its fine musicality. It may take a few listens to truly appreciate, but Howlin’ Wolf is a Blues legend. Check this out today.
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