Howlin Wolf Video — “Smokestack Lightening”

I’m a big fan of Howlin’ Wolf, the legendary blues man from Mississippi (1910-1976). His recordings of “Smokestack Lightening”, “Back Door Man”, “Little Red Rooster” have become part of the American songbook. What I like about him is his sheer, raw, powerful, very big voice. He was a man and sounded like it. At 6’6″ and about 300 pounds he was an imposing performer, to some a bit scary. Chester Arthur Burnett was his real name and he grew up in the middle of Mississippi. Wikipedia has a good biography of him. It’s not too different than the experience of many African-American blue singers of that time. I always get chills listening to this piece. They now play this in Viagra commercials. 

It’s what I’m listening to today. Enjoy.




3 comments to Howlin Wolf Video — “Smokestack Lightening”

  • Norman

    Well well Jeff, never figured you to be a “Blues” aficionado, impressive.

  • JB McMunn

    Been a fan of Howlin’ Wolf since the 70′s. There is no mistaking that voice or style.

  • Albert King, Albert Collins, Wolf, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Huddy Ledbetter, etcetera. Once rode a bus (in SF) with Big Mama Willy Mae Thornton (she was a very larger person) and saw her several times at the old Filmore Auditorium in SF in the ’60s. Ditto with A. King, BB King, Bo Diddly, and others.