Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Howlin' Wolf: Howlin' Wolf; Moanin' in the Moonlight

"Hubert Sumlin, the guitarist whose slashing solos and innovative ideas galvanized the blues of Howlin’ Wolf and inspired rock guitar players like Jimmy Page, Robbie Robertson and Eric Clapton, died on Sunday in Wayne, N.J. ... Mr. Sumlin’s eerie guitar counterpart to Howlin’ Wolf’s unearthly moaning on the 1956 hit 'Smokestack Lightnin’' has lately been featured in a television commercial for Viagra. He also played lead on 'Back Door Man,' 'Spoonful' and 'The Red Rooster,' all written and arranged by the Chicago blues trailblazer Willie Dixon. 'Dixon’s often astute novelty lyrics and shrewd arrangements were topped off by Sumlin’s imaginative, angular, taut attack, frequent glisses, maniacally wide vibrato and percussive chords, all drawn with an exaggerated brush,' the producer Dick Shurman observed of Mr. Sumlin’s relentlessly inventive playing. ... 'Back Door Man,' 'Spoonful' and 'The Red Rooster' were later made even more famous in versions released, respectively, by the Doors, Cream and the Rolling Stones. All three originally appeared on Howlin’ Wolf’s 1962 LP 'Howlin’ Wolf,' which the critic Greil Marcus called 'the finest of all Chicago blues albums,' largely because of Mr. Sumlin’s contribution" (Bill Friskics-Warren, "Hubert Sumlin, Master of Blues Guitar, Dies at 80," New York Times, 12/5/11).
View catalog record here!