The Definitive Collection

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
At six foot three and 270 pounds, Chester Burnett was a bear of a man, but his voice, rough and harsh as broken Delta glass, was what really gave him dimension. A powerful blues shouter out of the Charley Patton mold, Burnett (or Howlin' Wolf, as he came to be known) brought a feral fire to his vocals that made him sound like a gale force hurricane in front of the microphone. But he was far from a loose cannon. He had remarkable control over that voice, as the first track from this wonderful collection of his classic Chess sides makes clear. "Moanin' at Midnight," recorded in 1958 for Sam Phillips (Phillips promptly sold the master to Chicago's Chess Records), is nothing ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
At six foot three and 270 pounds, Chester Burnett was a bear of a man, but his voice, rough and harsh as broken Delta glass, was what really gave him dimension. A powerful blues shouter out of the Charley Patton mold, Burnett (or Howlin' Wolf, as he came to be known) brought a feral fire to his vocals that made him sound like a gale force hurricane in front of the microphone. But he was far from a loose cannon. He had remarkable control over that voice, as the first track from this wonderful collection of his classic Chess sides makes clear. "Moanin' at Midnight," recorded in 1958 for Sam Phillips (Phillips promptly sold the master to Chicago's Chess Records), is nothing more than an amped-up and electrified field holler, but Wolf's subtle, wordless vocal phrasing makes it carry enough pain, suffering, pride, desperation, and resignation to fill the world to breaking, all in a single rocking performance that hits like a brick to the head. The Chess brothers recorded Wolf frequently in the next dozen or so years, wisely pairing him with guitarist Hubert Sumlin and bassist/songwriter Willie Dixon more often than not, and Wolf's output for the label between 1958 and 1964 forms the core of one of the greatest legacies in the history of the blues. All of his key Chess singles are here, including "Smokestack Lightning," his redefinitions of the Mississippi Sheiks' "Sittin' on Top of the World" and Skip James' "Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues" (reborn as "Killing Floor" in Wolf's hands), and his signature versions of Dixon's "Backdoor Man," "Spoonful," "The Red Rooster," and "I Ain't Superstitious," making this set a marvelous introduction to one of the most powerful voices in recorded history. What you need to hear is here. [The Definitive Collection contains the same tracks as the 1997 MCA release His Best].
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/17/2007
  • Label: Geffen Records
  • UPC: 602517240865
  • Catalog Number: 000878402
  • Sales rank: 23,752

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Howlin' Wolf Primary Artist, Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Willie Dixon Bass, Vocals
Henry Gray Piano
Buddy Guy Bass
Freddie King Guitar
Hubert Sumlin Guitar
Sam Lay Drums
Jody Williams Guitar
Fred Below Drums
Alfred Elkins Bass
Donald Hankins Baritone Saxophone
Ike Turner Piano
Hosea Lee Kennard Piano
Lafayette Leake Piano
S.P. Leary Drums
Earl Phillips Drums
Arnold Rogers Tenor Saxophone
Otis Smokey Smothers Guitar
Otis Spann Piano
Albert Williams Piano
Willie Connell Johnson Guitar
Abb Locke Tenor Saxophone
Willie Steele Drums
Andrew James McMahon Drums
Technical Credits
Willie Dixon Composer, Producer
Howlin' Wolf Composer
Leonard Chess Producer
Phil Chess Producer
Andy McKaie Producer
Mark Humphrey Liner Notes
Ryan Null Photo Coordination
Chester Burnett Composer
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Essential Blues

    Don't even think, just buy it.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews