Still at the peak of his powers, the Wolf moans like a full moon’s overhead
Listening to the studio recordings of blues legend Howlin’ Wolf (born Chester Arthur Burnett in White Station, Miss., in 1910), it’s immediately apparent that the man was a force of nature—considering he was 6’3”, 275 lbs., had eyes like lightning and a voice like a bag of shattered glass, it’s no surprise. But it was onstage—in front of his gawking audiences—where Wolf truly unleashed the beast. His stage antics—which at times found him crawling around howling like a man possessed—were ferocious, and the sheer power of his vocals have never been matched by anyone: not Muddy Waters or James Brown, not Janis Joplin or Joe Cocker, not James Hetfield or Axl Rose; not even Pavarotti himself could touch Burnett at the mic. This performance, recorded live in Bremen, Germany, in 1964 features some of the blues’ greatest sidemen—guitarist Hubert Sumlin, bassist Willie Dixon and pianist Sunnyland Slim—and is a true testament to the Wolf’s mojo, which allowed him to whip up some of the most raw, primal and inspired music ever recorded.