Chester Arthur Burnett (June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976), known as Howlin’ Wolf, was a Chicago blues singer, guitarist, and harmonica player. Originally from Mississippi, he moved to Chicago in adulthood and became successful, forming a rivalry with fellow bluesman Muddy Waters. With a booming voice and imposing physical presence, he is one of the best-known Chicago blues artists.
The musician and critic Cub Koda noted, “no one could match Howlin’ Wolf for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while simultaneously scaring its patrons out of its wits.” Producer Sam Phillips recalled, “When I heard Howlin’ Wolf, I said, ‘This is for me. This is where the soul of man never dies.'” Several of his songs, including “Smokestack Lightnin'”, “Killing Floor” and “Spoonful”, have become blues and blues rock standards. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 54 on its list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.
Moanin’ in the Moonlight was the debut album by American blues singer Howlin’ Wolf. The album was a compilation of previously issued singles by Chess Records. It was originally released by Chess Records as a mono-format LP record in 1959 (see 1959 in music). The album has been reissued several times, including a vinyl reissue in 1969, with the playing order changed, titled Evil.
The two earliest songs on Moanin’ in the Moonlight were “Moanin’ at Midnight” and “How Many More Years”. These two songs and ‘All Night Boogie’, were recorded in Memphis, the first two at Sam Phillips’ Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee in July 1951, and, ‘All Night Boogie’, the last track on side one, in Memphis in 1953. These songs were sold to the Chess brothers, Leonard and Phil, who released them on two singles (Chess 1479 and Chess 1557), the first two titles being released on August 15, 1951. The rest of the songs on the album were recorded in Chicago, Illinois and were produced by either the Chess brothers and/or Willie Dixon.
The original version of Moanin’ in the Moonlight featured cover artwork by Don S. Bronstein and sleeve notes by Billboard editor Paul Ackerman. The label pressings from the original series have different colors on it because several pressing plants were used.
The album was featured on an advertisement in Billboard magazine on August 10, 1959, which misprinted the album’s title as Howlin’ at Midnite.
In 1987 Moanin’ in the Moonlight was given a W.C. Handy Award under the category of “Vintage/Reissue Album (US)”. Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album as #153 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, maintaining the rating in a 2012 revised list. Robert Palmer has cited “How Many More Years” (recorded May 1951, unissued at the time, but later issued by Bear Family on CD BCD15460) as the first record to feature a distorted power chord, played by Willie Johnson on the electric guitar. (by wikipedia)
Moanin’ in the Moonlight was Howlin’ Wolf’s first collection of sides for the Chess label, packed with great tunes and untouchable performances by the man himself. The last word in electric Chicago blues, Wolf was possessed of fine guitar and harp skills, a voice that could separate skin from bone, and a sheer magnetism and charisma that knew (and has known) no equal. This disc is outstanding throughout, and features some of his best sides, including “How Many More Years,” “Smokestack Lightnin’,” “Evil,” and “I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline).” Highly recommended for the uninitiated and a must for collectors. (by Rovi Staff)
“Moaning’ in the Moonlight” is the debut LP by Howlin’ Wolf, released in 1959 and made up of various singles he had recorded and released over the course of the 1950s. These were almost indisputably some of his finest performances. In particular, the first three tracks are very strong. All songs on the album feature vocals and harmonica from the Wolf. His harmonica playing is not among the best in the blues but is still quite competent. It is his vocals, however, that are especially engrossing. In addition, he performs with other fine blues musicians of the day including Willie Dixon and Hubert Sumlin, the former of whom also penned one of the songs, “Evil,” which is among the best that the listener hears. It finally should be noted that Howlin’ Wolf had a much more modern Chicago blues sound than his rival Muddy Waters did in the fifties. (by Lucas Del Rio)
Willie Dixon (bass)
Willie Johnson (guitar)
Hosea Lee Kennard (piano)
Earl Phillips (drums)
Otis Spann (piano)
Willie Steele (drums)
Hubert Sumlin (guitar)
Jody Williams (guitar)
Howlin’ Wolf (vocals, harmonica)
Fred Below (drums on 06.)
Lee Cooper (guitar on 05.)
Adolph “Billy” Dockins (saxophone on 09.)
S. P. Leary (drums on 08.)
Otis “Smokey” Smothers (guitar on 10.)
Ike Turner (piano on 01. + 02.)
01. Moanin’ At Midnight (Burnett) 3.00
02. How Many More Years (Burnett) 2.46
03. Smokestack Lightnin’ (Burnett) 3.11
04. Baby How Long (Burnett) 2.58
05. No Place To Go (Burnett) 3.01
06. All Night Boogie (Burnett) 2.19
07. Evil (Dixon) 2.56
08. I’m Leavin’ You (Burnett) 3.03
09. Moanin’ For My Baby (Burnett) 2.54
10. I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline) (Burnett) 2.55
11. Forty-Four (Sykes) 2.52
12. Somebody In My Home (Burnett) 2.28
Chester Arthur Burnett (June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976)