Truth be told, I have listened to countless blues songs but only a few entire albums. Thus, I consider myself an amateur blues listener. However, that is not to say, that the blues haven’t followed me throughout my (rather brief) life. They have. They’ve clouded my days and made it so light couldn’t shine through my darkest crevices. So, that is to say that I enjoy (quite emphatically) a good, authentic blues song (or album for that matter) when I hear one. That’s what we have here: “Howlin’ Wolf” is the blues.
Every song exudes a sense of gritty melancholia, in only the way Wolf is able to do. And that in of itself propels this album to a desert island pick. This would be the essential gritty blues album I’d listen to to distortedly uplift. Let me explain.
“Uplift” in the warped sense that listening to this meticulous compilation is a communal experience; i.e, we simply feel Wolf’s various pains through his intense growls and strained vocal performances. It’s quite enjoyable, actually.
Every song here works well and culminates into a stellar, one-of-a-kind listening experience (all, except for “Goin’ Down Slow”, which I found didn’t really work for me).
Now, let’s turn our attention to the definitive standout: “Little Red Rooster”. This song, ahhhh this song. Sexy, bluesy and rocking, “Rooster” is excellent. Plain and simple.
In conclusion, “Howlin’ Wolf” is one of my favorite albums I’ve listened to recently and, as such, lands a spot in the pantheon of Desert Island Masterpieces.
Give it a listen, will ya!
My Grade: B+