When Chester Burnett aka Howlin’ Wolf,  finally made his mark in music, he returned home to his mother and offered to look after her and to give her money. His mother refused as any money he had earned belonged to the Devil as he was playing the Devil’s music. Thank God!

There are few things as hauntingly beautiful and full of emotion as the voice of Howlin’ Wolf. A giant of a man in both stature and sound, The Wolf played a raw brand of Chicago blues with his band that featured the hugely influential guitarist Hubert Sumlin. I think Eric Clapton must have learned every lick Hubert ever played. Also along for the ride was songwriter extraordinaire, Willie Dixon. The combination produced some of the greatest music ever made, with the legendary Sam Phillips of Chess Records hitting the record button.

He was largely ignored in his country of birth, as most black musicians were at the time ; the fear of the Devil’s music crossed all racial lines. But when the young wave of British bands flooded out of England to take the world by storm, The Wolf and others were suddenly thrown into the spotlight. The Stones could not believe that The Wolf, or Muddy Waters, or Son House and countless others were unknown, especially to white audiences ; to the British rock and rollers, these guys were nothing short of musical Gods.

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Cockburn Libraries have three CD’s by Howlin’ Wolf

Howlin’ at the sun

Howlin’ Wolf ; his best – featuring How many more years (later lifted without credit by Led Zeppelin) Back Door Man (covered by The Doors) Little Red Rooster (covered by The Rolling Stones) I ain’t superstitious (covered by The Jeff Beck Group featuring Rod Stewart) Killing Floor (covered by Jimi Hendrix and lifted by Led Zeppelin without credit) Spoonful (covered by Cream)

London Sessions – with guest artist Eric Clapton being given a dressing down by The Wolf after struggling with the intro to Little Red Rooster. The CD also features Bill Wyman, Ringo Starr and a host of others.