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141 of 144 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is The Real Stuff!
The first thing you hear on this CD is Wolf's unearthly moaning/humming. It gradually increases in volume until it becomes huge, frightening, and distorted. The reason it's distorted is because his voice is overloading the mike. The sound you hear is the mike fixing to blow up. You're hearing the elements of the microphone being rattled by Wolf's gigantic voice...
Published on May 8, 2000 by happydogpotatohead

versus
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good collection but not necessarily "his best"
This is a fine collection and I'm glad to own this. However, I think material gives too much weight for Dixon's stuff and some Wolf's own essential pieces are missing.

I think songs like "Wolf is at your door" and "Howlin' Wolf Boogie" should have been here (you have to look for His Best vol. 2 to find them). Also "My Country Sugar Mama" is better than some of...
Published on August 14, 2006 by Kalevi Apinakallio


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141 of 144 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is The Real Stuff!, May 8, 2000
This review is from: Howlin' Wolf: His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection) (Audio CD)
The first thing you hear on this CD is Wolf's unearthly moaning/humming. It gradually increases in volume until it becomes huge, frightening, and distorted. The reason it's distorted is because his voice is overloading the mike. The sound you hear is the mike fixing to blow up. You're hearing the elements of the microphone being rattled by Wolf's gigantic voice. They didn't have equipment that could take the Wolf full-on. Similarly, no one CD is going to contain all of the Wolf; he was just too damn big. But this CD has all the stuff that sent people like Mike Bloomfield and Jimmy Page scuttling into their bedrooms to try and cop the licks. What they never could imitate was the raw pure attitude of the Wolf, a mighty, mighty man among men, "300 pounds of muscle and man" as he says on this very CD.
This CD has all the classic songs on it. If you know anything about blues you probably have this CD. If you're learning about the blues, GET THIS IMMEDIATELY. It makes nearly all modern "blues" artists sound completely pale and anemic. If you want a real laugh, drag out the Doors' first album and compare Jim Morrison's "Backdoor Man" with Howlin' Wolf's version on this CD. Then ask yourself who REALLY "ate more chicken than any man ever seen." I think the answer will be painfully obvious. This is everything the blues should be: raw, dangerous, edgy, filthy with distortion, snarling guitar from Hubert Sumlin and Pat Hare. Raw visceral blues that does not compromise and takes no prisoners. If blues was liquor, Howlin' Wolf would be straight whiskey. Buy this CD and get drunk.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Single Disc Compilation Available..., September 6, 2004
By 
"The Woj" (Downers Grove, IL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Howlin' Wolf: His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection) (Audio CD)
For someone on a budget who is interested in the music of this legendary artist, look no further than this single disc album. The sound and track selection here are excellent. Anyone interested in the blues needs to have at lest one Howlin' Wolf album in their collection and you can't go wrong here. For those interested in further exploring the Wolf's music (or if you have a few extra bucks around), I suggest the Howlin' Wolf Chess Box which contains 3 discs worth of material, but for about 4 times the cost.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This really rates ten stars..., October 15, 2001
By 
Star Wars Fan (Northport, AL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Howlin' Wolf: His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection) (Audio CD)
...there just aren't that many available. When I first started listening to blues music - I had in my mind what a blues artist should sound like. I listened to Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Robert Johnson, Buddy Guy, Elmore James, and they all are great - don't get me wrong. But when I heard Howlin' Wolf start up on "I Ain't Superstitious," I knew that was it. Wolf has the best voice in blues, and this is the best collection I've come across of his music. You can make a case for a number of tunes that should be here, but the sound quality and overall impact of the selections just can't be beaten. If you are a blues novice, or just need to hear what the blues should sound like - get it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Electric blues with soul, May 31, 2006
By 
This review is from: Howlin' Wolf: His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection) (Audio CD)
As great as they are, I feel like a lot of the bluesmen who went electric in the 40s and 50s -- even the great ones like Albert and B.B. King, Muddy Waters -- lost something in the switch. The soul of the old acoustic blues -- delta blues, country blues -- seemed to disappear, and be replaced with virtuosity and verbal wit. I could still enjoy the music, but it didn't stay with me the way Robert Johnson, Son House, and Skip James did; it felt more like pop music, less powerful, less true.

The only exception is Howlin' Wolf. This is the single electric disc that I feel has some of the old spirit, and it is telling that so many of the songs -- even though they are credited to Wolf -- have their roots in the old country blues. Smokestack Lightnin' and Sittin' On Top of the World are both Mississippi Sheiks tunes; I Asked For Water is a variation on an old Tommy Johnson song.

You can also see the best of both strands represented on the early Willie Dixon songs: Wang Dang Doodle, Back Door Man, and Spoonful. Then you can feel the quality start to slip, the Dixon songs becoming sillier and more commercial; the performances are still gripping, but there is something calculated and less authentic about "Three Hundred Pounds of Joy" and "Hidden Charms," as much energy as Wolf puts into them.

Finally, he realizes that he can do his own material better, and the disc ends with an incredible masterpiece - everything that is great about his music boiled down to the three minutes of Killing Floor: that huge voice, the slashing guitar, those fluid charging rhythms. It took him two days in the studio to get that one track right, but you will never hear anything that sounds more alive. Buy the CD. This is what music is for.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MOANIN AT MIDNIGHT!, December 20, 2005
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Howlin' Wolf: His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection) (Audio CD)
this album is, again, great. yes, it's me again. i'm the kid who reviewed the chess box yesterday. i'm here to review every howlin' wolf album. they all have 5 stars. anyway, my favorite song on this is 'moanin at midnight.' i think it's one of my favorite songs ever. it's also on the chess box, but i think this version is better. the other good song on this is 'killing floor.' how can you not want to dance after hearing that?! i could hear those 2 songs over and over and never get tired of them. when i was a little kid i used to play the 'moanin at midnight' single over and over on my record player. but now i have it on CD!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SOME GREAT CLASSIC BLUES, April 25, 2005
This review is from: Howlin' Wolf: His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection) (Audio CD)
Howlin' Wolf has the got one of the most incredible voices ever. This is a great single disc comptilation of his work. He was obviously highly inspiring too many of the english guitarists and musicians. He (like muddy waters) has an all star band with some of the greatest bluesman ever. Track Listing-

1. Moanin' At Midnight- 10/10

2. How Many More Years- 10/10

3. Evil- 10/10

4. Forty-Four 10/10

5. Smokestack Lightnin'- 10/10

6. I Asked For Water- 8.5/10

7. Who's Been Talkin'- 10/10

8. Sitting On Top of the World- 10/10

9. Howlin' For My Darling- 9/10

10. Wang Dang Doodle- 10/10

11. Back Door Man- 9.5/10

12. Spoonful- 10/10

13. Shake For Me- 10/10

14. The Red Rooster- 10/10

15. I Ain't Superstitious- 10/10

16. Goin' Down Slow- 10/10

17. Three Hunder Pounds of Joy- 10/10

18. Hidden Charms- 10/10

19. Built for Comfort- 10/10

20. Killing Floor- 10/10

This album is phenomenal. Some of the greatest blues you will ever hear, buy it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is My Man - Howlin Wolf on The Killin Floor, March 20, 2007
This review is from: Howlin' Wolf: His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection) (Audio CD)
I have been a "Wolf" fan for over 45 years. When I first heard that big, raw voice..I got the chills. I saw "The Wolf" first in the early 60s and man was that cat BIG. He and Muddy Waters were on the same gig that night at a music festival. Heaven on earth that night. Nuff said about the Wolf..like to me he is the greatest. On this compilation, I really got into "Smokestack Lightnin," "Howlin' For My Darling," "Wang Wang Doodle" (sorry Etta James), "Back Door Man" (sorry a lot of artists), "Spoonful" (sorry Clapton and Cream), "The Red Rooster" (sorry to nobody this is the best one), "Built for Comfort" (nobody but a 6'6" 300 lb. rocker could even sing this one - only "The Wolf"), and last but certaintly not least maybe he is best known for "Killing Floor." This complilation is a....... "Wolf" frenzied orgy of hard rockin blues. Make my number one man in the blues come into your life. Buy this one. Da "Blues Brother - Joliet Jake" has spoken.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot Like Red Pepper. Sweet like Cherry Wine., September 2, 2001
By 
Lynn D. Larrow (Lafayette, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Howlin' Wolf: His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection) (Audio CD)
This is a great collection of Chester Arthur Burnett's songs from Chess Records spanning the period from 1951 with "Moanin' at Midnight" to "Killing Floor" in 1964.
Howlin' Wolf has got to be one of the greatest blues performers of all time. He was able to completely put his heart and soul into each song by creating a rich, powerful and earthy singing style. He also was a very accomplished harmonica player, which he learned from Sonny Boy Williamson.
At 6 foot three inches and 270 pounds, he was literal giant of a man with a wild raw voice and presence that made him stand out in the Chicago Blues scene like the Bodhi Dharma of Zen lore.
This collection features classic blues songs which should be considered the definitive versions for example:
Moanin' at Midnight (1951), Evil (1954), Forty-Four (1954), Smokestack Lightning (1956), Howlin' for my Darlin' (1959), Spoonful (1960), The Red Rooster (1961), Built for Comfort (1963).
Howlin' Wolf is backed up on many of these cuts by bass player and blues lyricist extraordinaire, Willie Dixon. Also, the great Hubert Sumlin's electric guitar stands out on such classic cuts as Evil and Smokestack Lightning. In fact, every time I listen to this album, I hear some Hubert Sumlin electric guitar rifts that were the staples of later white bands such as the Rolling Stones, John Mayall, Eric Clapton, Doors, Yardbirds, etc. BTW, Captain Beefheart is the only singer that I know who came close to capturing some of the essence of Howlin' Wolf's great powerful voice.
My favorite song on the CD is "Howlin' for my Darling". This song is full of joy and exuberance and where Howlin' Wolf lives up to his name in every respect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love It, May 29, 2007
This review is from: Howlin' Wolf: His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection) (Audio CD)
Absolutely love this album. It is a must have for blues lovers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to Howlin' Wolf's corpus, April 8, 2007
By 
Steven A. Peterson (Hershey, PA (Born in Kewanee, IL)) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Howlin' Wolf: His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection) (Audio CD)
Howlin' Wolf, as the accompanying booklet puts it (page 3) ". . .had a voice like shattered glass being dragged over hot asphalt. It enabled him to register rage, paranoia, loneliness, and lust almost as a single emotion. . . ." Sam Philips said of him that "Once the beat got going, he would hypnotize himself. . .and he did things musically that you wouldn't believe." This CD tracks his music from 1951 into the mid-1960s. The music richly illustrates his art.

"Moanin' at Midnight" was recorded in 1951. The song features a simple guitar line and his own solid harmonica playing. The cut displays the distinctive Howlin' Wolf voice nicely. Key lines:

"Well, somebody's knocking on my door;

Well somebody knocking on my door.

Well I'm so worried, don't know where to go."

A well known work (written by Willie Dixon), "Back Door Man," was covered by the Doors. His version is a bunch different than theirs! He talks about a "Midnight treat" and notes that "the little girls understand." Jim Morrison sings this well in his own way, but Howlin' Wolf's primordial version has a much richer edge to it. No comparison , in fact. His raspy voice (aptly described at the outset of this review) works well with this song.

And then there is "Red Rooster," recorded in 1961. This was covered by another Rock n' Roll band, the Rolling Stones. This version is much rawer. The instrumentals are great, with Howlin' Wolf on guitar and Willie Dixon on bass. Great version!

This is a rich album that gives a good sense of the work of Howlin' Wolf. Raw blues; great blues.
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