The Howlin' Wolf would have been 102 this month. At six feet tall and close to 300 pounds ("of heavenly joy"
as he used to sing) his presence was as commanding as his voice, a bizarrely wonderful combination of Charlie Patton and the singing brakeman, fellow Mississippian Jimmie Rodgers. Wolf was first presented to British audiences thanks to The Rolling Stones who recorded some of their first records at Chess Studios where Wolf also made much of his best music. His axe on the trip overseas? A Casino
, of course.
Wolf was first recorded by Sun Records founder Sam Phillips who told author Peter Guralnick
, "when I heard Howlin' Wolf, I said, 'This is for me. This is where the soul of man never dies.'"
Look for Pete's biography of Sam late next year.