THE BEST OF HOWLIN' WOLF 1951-1958 (4 DISC BOX)
Until MCA put out a Howlin' Wolf complete box set, this will be the way to investigate the great man's music. What you get are two CDs of his recordings from the very first sessions in the Sun Studio in Memphis in 1951 with Ike Turner and the legendary guitarist Willie Johnson, to his arrival in Chicago in 1954 when he tangled with Otis Spann, Hubert Sumlin and Willie Dixon. Then it's on to the second half of the fifties when he produced some of his most powerful and famous material. The whole thing just rocks like crazy with hits like How Many More Years?, Moanin' At Moonlight, Evil, Forty Four, Smokestack Lightnin', I Asked For Water, Poor Boy, and Sitting On Top Of The World pouring from the CDs.
The third CD features the music that inspired and energised Howlin' Wolf. Stuff like The Mississippi Sheiks Sitting on Top of The World, Tommy Johnson's Cool Drink of Water, Skip James Hard Times Killing Floor and Charley Patton's Pony Blues - all of which, after some re-structuring, became important to Wolf's repertoire.
The DVD features Paul Oliver, Guy Davis, Charles Shaar Murray, Sid Griffin, Charlie Musselwhite, and Dick Waterman discussing his life and marvelling at his spine-chilling music.
What more could you want? Great little package at a great price too.
Review Date: September 2009