• SumoMe

Howlin’ Wolf

“Smokestack Lightning”

Howlin’ Wolf was born under the name Chester Arthur Burnett 1910, but quickly changed to his moniker to reflect his gristly, whiskey-riddled, soft-as-a-chainsaw singing voice. Howlin’ Wolf is bar far one of the top tier popular blues musicians, influencing literally everyone who came after him even if they weren’t aware of it. Responsible for a great many driving blues numbers that assault the core of any listener with a conscience, Howlin’ Wolf was a heavy drinking, womanizing, low down and dirty bad man with pain in his guts and overflowing soul in his throat. His persona was so legendary that he was portrayed in the 2008 film, Cadillac Records.

Born in White Station, Mississippi, near West Point, he was named after Chester A. Arthur, the 21st President of the United States, and was nicknamed Big Foot Chester and Bull Cow in his early years because of his massive size. He explained the origin of the name Howlin’ Wolf thus: “I got that from my grandfather [John Jones].” His Grandfather would often tell him stories about the wolves in that part of the country and warn him that if he misbehaved, the howling wolves would “get him”. According to the documentary film The Howlin’ Wolf Story, Howlin’ Wolf’s parents broke up when he was young. His very religious mother Gertrude threw him out of the house while he was still a child for refusing to work around the farm; he then moved in with his uncle, Will Young, who treated him badly. When he was 13, he ran away and claimed to have walked 85 miles (137 km) barefoot to join his father, where he finally found a happy home within his father’s large family. During the peak of his success, he returned from Chicago to his home town to see his mother again, but was driven to tears when she rebuffed him and refused to take any money he offered her, saying it was from his playing the “Devil’s music”.

From Wikipedia.

Howlin’ Wolf is by far one of the all-time great musicians, and is fully deserving of your few minutes on this Tuesday Tunesday. Enjoy.