January 11: Howlin Wolf released Howlin Wolf (album) in 1962

Howlin’ Wolf is the third studio album from Chicago blues singer/guitarist/harmonicist Howlin’ Wolf. It is a collection of six singles previously released by the Chess label from 1960 through 1962. This was a common practise at the time.

Because of the illustration on its sleeve, shot by Don Bronstein, staff photgrapher at Playboy magazine and house photographer at Chess Records, the album is often called The Rockin’ Chair Album, a nickname even added to the cover on some reissue pressings of the LP.

Howlin’ Wolf’s second album brings together some of the blues great’s best singles from the late ’50s and early ’60s. Also available as a fine two-fer with his debut, Moanin’ in the Moonlight, the so-called Rockin’ Chair Album represents the cream of Wolf’s Chicago blues work. Those tracks afforded classic status are many, including “Spoonful,” “The Red Rooster,” “Wang Dang Doodle,” “Back Door Man,” “Shake for Me,” and “Who’s Been Talking?” Also featuring the fine work of Chess house producer and bassist Willie Dixon and guitarist Hubert Sumlin, Rockin’ Chair qualifies as one of pinnacles of early electric blues, and is an essential album for any quality blues collection.
– Stephen Cook (Allmusic)*

*= note that he concider it the second, not third, Howlin Wolf album. This is debateable since all the first three Wolf albums were released in 1962 (according to allmusic, but Wikipedia says that the debut was released in 1959), and it’s often hard to find the exact date of release of these recordings.
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Jan 10: Muddy Waters released “Hard Again” in 1977 – 40 years ago

…..Waters sings as though his life depended on it, Johnny Winter proves with every note how right he was to want to do this, and James Cotton–well, James Cotton doesn’t open his mouth except to make room for the harmonica, which sounds just great.
~Robert Christgau (robertchristgau.com)

This is Muddy Waters’ best “late” album.. Johnny Winter sure inspired the old blues legend to peak performance…. a wonderful record.

Mannish Boy:

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Jan 7: Muddy Waters recorded “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man” in 1954

MW - Hoochie

This 1954 recording (the second, after 1952’s original) of blues standard “Hoochie Coochie Man” by Muddy Waters is one of the all-time classic blues records; a vital piece of Chicago-style electric blues that links the Delta to rock & roll..
~Bill Janovitz (allmusic.com)

Hoochie Coochie Man ( Chess 1954):

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Blues Classics: Skip James – “Devil Got My Woman”

I’d rather be the devil, to be that woman man
I’d rather be the devil, to be that woman man
Aw, nothin’ but the devil, changed my baby’s mind
Was nothin’ but the devil, changed my baby’s mind
~Skip James (Devil Got My Woman)

Coupling an oddball guitar tuning set against eerie, falsetto vocals, James’ early recordings could make the hair stand up on the back of your neck.
~Cub Koda (allmusic.com)

Skip James (June 9, 1902 – October 3, 1969) was an American Delta blues singer. He is regarded by most blues writers as a very important artist.

He is one of 3 blues artists to featured in Wim Wenders great documentary film The Soul of a Man (2003). 

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January 1: Hank Williams died in 1953 and Townes Van Zandt died in 1997

Hank Williams (September 17, 1923 – January 1, 1953), born Hiram King Williams, is regarded as one of the most important country music artists of all time. Williams recorded 35 singles (five released posthumously) that would place in the Top 10 of the Billboard Country & Western Best Sellers chart, including 11 that ranked number one.Hank Williams died in 1953 and Townes Van Zandt died in 1997

John Townes Van Zandt (March 7, 1944 – January 1, 1997), best known as Townes Van Zandt, was an American Texas Country-folk music singer-songwriter, performer, and poet. Many of his songs, including “If I Needed You,” “To Live is to Fly,” and “No Place to Fall” are considered standards of their genre.

 

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Best Album 2016: The Rolling Stones – Blue & Lonesome

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The Rolling Stones released their latest album December 2nd 2016, their first album in over a decade is a return to the blues. It is a great blues album, and a tremendous return to form by The Stones.

The album is fresh and spontaneous and was recorded in just 3 days last December (2015) with co-producer Don Was. It really sounds like band enjoying themselves.

“This album is manifest testament to the purity of their love for making music, and the blues is, for the Stones, the fountainhead of everything they do.”
– Don Was

It’s a very good introduction to the blues, by a band who clearly pours their love into the songs. We’ve included the versions that are closest to the Rolling Stones’s takes on these songs. It isn’t always the original recording.

The entire list part 3, part 2, part 1

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