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4.6 5
by Peter Wolf
While two full decades have passed since he left his post at the front line of the J. Geils Band, the peripatetic Peter Wolf is still probably best known for his manic maneuvers with that hit-making combo. This state of affairs may very well change, however, with the release of this eclectic, often fascinating disc, his sixth as a solo


While two full decades have passed since he left his post at the front line of the J. Geils Band, the peripatetic Peter Wolf is still probably best known for his manic maneuvers with that hit-making combo. This state of affairs may very well change, however, with the release of this eclectic, often fascinating disc, his sixth as a solo performer. Wolf's voice, raspy and raw even in his 20s, has been buffed into a ragged-but-right instrument capable of conveying both sweet soul (in the pensive "A Lot of Good Ones Gone") and flinty blues (a version of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Too Close Together" that's bolstered by Keith Richards' strutting guitar riffs). Wolf's deep musical knowledge, sometimes obscured by his over-the-top delivery, is displayed magnificently on covers of Otis Rush's "Homework" (a darker, cloudier take than the original) and William Bell's Stax chestnut "Never like This Before." Sleepless is peppered with intriguing cameos (Steve Earle on the honky-tonkin' "Some Things You Don't Want to Know," Mick Jagger on the sly "Nothing but the Wheel"), but it's always clear that no monkey is gonna stop Wolf from making this show his own. It's a warm, welcoming album, friendly without being desperate for attention, smart but not elbow-in-the-ribs clever, making it a true pleasure to spend time with.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Robert L. Doerschuk
With each step he takes past his years as frontman to the J. Geils Band, Peter Wolf builds on his legacy as a solo artist of remarkable distinction. Bits of the jive caricature of his early years surface on Sleepless, especially when reunited with his old running buddies Keith Richards and Magic Dick on "Too Close Together," but most of the album documents much more skillful and sensitive approaches to interpretation. In fact, in his ability to slide from singing to a spoken word or two and back again, Wolf affirms his mastery of the Bob Dylan method for bringing a lyric to life. The musical settings throughout Sleepless vary dramatically, from roadhouse country on the highway epic "Nothing but the Wheel" through Mexican romanticism on "Oh Marianne" and to raw blues with a Tom Waits edge on "Homework." In each of these, Wolf's voice, recorded bone dry and boosted high in the mix, flawlessly nails the feel; on one track, the Stax-flavored ballad "A Lot of Good Ones Gone," his performance -- reflective, understated, delicately phrased, and soulful -- compares favorably to some of Van Morrison's best work. It is, in other words, about as good as a performance can be in this genre.
Rolling Stone - Jann S. Wenner
Peter Wolf's sixth solo album is easily his best: A superb work of soulfulness and delicacy, it will hold enormous appeal for any fan of Van Morrison or Bob Dylan.... Sleepless is a sleeper -- a clean and sparely produced album of hand-polished gems.

Product Details

Release Date:
Artemis Records


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Peter Wolf   Primary Artist,Vocals
Ada Dyer   Background Vocals
Mick Jagger   Harmonica,Vocals
Duke Levine   Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Soloist
Larry Campbell   Fiddle,Guitar,Mandolin,Pedal Steel Guitar,Background Vocals,Guitar (Resonator),Guitar (Baritone)
Crispin Cioe   Alto Saxophone
Cornell Dupree   Electric Guitar,Soloist
Magic Dick   Harmonica
Rob Eaton   Background Vocals
Laurence Etkin   Trumpet
Robert Funk   Tenor Trombone
Tony Garnier   Acoustic Bass
Milt Grayson   Bass (Vocal)
Stuart Kimball   Electric Guitar
Warren McRae   Electric Bass
Sammy Merendino   Percussion
Brian Mitchell   Accordion
Paul Ossola   Electric Bass,Acoustic Bass
Shawn Pelton   Drums
Angelo Petraglia   Acoustic Guitar
Keith Richards   Electric Guitar,Vocals
Catherine Russell   Background Vocals
Tom West   Organ
Charlie Drayton   Drums
John Conte   Electric Bass
Kenny White   Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Background Vocals,Wurlitzer
Kevin Shurtleff   Percussion,Drums
Arno Hecht   Tenor Saxophone
Teresa Williams   Background Vocals
Theresa Williams   Background Vocals
Dan Reiser   Drums

Technical Credits

Peter Wolf   Producer
Rob Eaton   Engineer,Engineering
Perkins   Composer
Otis Rush   Composer
Ben Wisch   Engineer
Chris Rival   Engineer
Kenny White   Producer
Tom Waltz   Engineer
Frank Olinsky   Cover Photo
Dave Westner   Engineer,Engineering

Customer Reviews

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Sleepless 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sleepless makes you feel like you are listening to someone tell you stories, but the teller is talking to you, not at you. So, like all good records, it just makes you feel good. No matter how many copies this cd sells, this is a good "record".
Guest More than 1 year ago
Heh heh. I love this record. The bit w/ Mick is priceless Stones/J. Geils country genius w/ a good touch of soul. The Richards/Wolf cover of the r&b track Too Close Together is drum-tight and as you'd expect pays all proper respect to forebears. Hey Jordan struts, while Oh Marianne nearly brought me to tears w/ its timeless beauty. Big thanks to songwriter Will Jennings for his part in the kicks here.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is good to hear that Wolf, once again, is in the college of musical knowledge. Great songs, a beautiful sound (remember Al Green and Muscle Shoals?)and on mouth and mike the Wolfman himself in a great voice. His singing keeps getting better. Where is this going to end? Chillfactor tracks: Growin'Pain,Hey Jordan and Sleepless (allready a classic). Can somebody tell Wolf to come to Amsterdam and perform there?
Guest More than 1 year ago
...From an artist who grew up on Doo-Wop, hung at the Apollo and is a Hank Williams fan? In his early 20's the same dude hung out with (and was embraced by) major American Blues legends. His old group was practically the "House Band" at the Fillmore East in 1971! Not bad for a nice boy from the Bronx!!! "SLEEPLESS" is a "better than solid" piece of art and this artist leaves nothing off the pallet. But, for some reason, this 30+ year fan belieives that his best work is yet to come. Until then, this will do, just fine. The Jagger duet begs repeated listening, and there are moments on this album that smack you upside the head (for the very 1st time) on your 5th or 6th spin. This makes it to the desserted island!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a classic album. Every song is a gem. It gets better everytime I listen to it.