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HOWLIN’ WOLF & THE WOLF GANG
Ebbets Field 1973 [no label, 1CD]
Live at Ebbets Field, Denver, CO, August 23, 1973. Excellent pre-FM stereo.
Howlin’ Wolf (born Chester Arthur Burnett) was one of the great blues singers and guitarists, together with the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson and Muddy Waters, who helped build Chess Records in Chicago. By the time he played Ebbets Field in Denver in 1973, he was already a legend.
Long admired by the Rolling Stones, the 1962 Howlin’ Wolf album was a must for anyone into Chicago blues and, in 1970, the bluesman recorded the Howlin’ Wolf London Sessions LP, with Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Ian Stewart, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts in attendance.
While then young upstarts Rolling Stones covered Little Red Rooster and Led Zepplin and Jimi Hendrix covered Killing Floor, Chess executives, in turn, wanted the ageing bluesmen such as Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf to record what they imagine to be “psychedelic” versions of their greatest hits. As critic Charles Shaar Murray notes: “Waters’ Electric Mud turned out to to an abomination, and Howlin’ Wolf’s New Album was worse… Wolf told everyone who would listen that the album was ‘dog shit.’ He probably blamed the whole ghastly business on Hendrix
Howlin’ Wolf’s last album was The Back Door Wolf, which was finished in August 1973. However, he did not perform any songs from the new album at Ebbets Field. Instead he played a best-of set. Wolf was rather sick in the early ’70s (his kidneys were failing him and he received dialysis treatments every three days - Wolf passed away in 1976 at the age of 65). But that did not show on the Ebbets Field set. He was stoic then as he was when he played his last gig in 1975.
Instead, fans got the whole works - from swinging blues to low-down dirty blues, albeit within a span of 10 songs. And not only is Wolf in form, the band is cooking up a storm. For the fans, a good way to remember the bluesman; for newcomers, a good introduction to electric blues.
And for those who are wondering, Ebbets Field was a small but influential club in Denver in the ’70s that hosted some of the biggest names in the music scene. As stillisstillmoving.com quoted: “If you think it was a field, you weren’t there.”
A word of thanks to Bogong Design for the artwork.
Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality stereo MP3s - sample rate of 192 kibit/s). As far as we can ascertain, this recording has never been officially released.
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2. I Can’t Stop Loving You (instrumental)
3. Your Love Is Creeping Away From Me
4. Baby Workout
5. How Blue Can You Get
6. What’d I Say/band intro
7. Little Red Rooster
8. Going Down Slow/Killing Floor
9. Shake For Me
Note: Killing Floor fades out at 2:48 and back at 3:00.
Howlin’ Wolf - guitar, vocals
Detroit Jr - piano, vocals
Hubert Sumlin - guitar
SP Leary - drums
Andrew “Shake ‘Em” McMahon - bass
Eddie Shaw - tenor sax, vocals
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