Chester Arthur Burnett (June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976), known as Howlin’ Wolf, was an influential American blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player.
With a booming voice and looming physical presence, Burnett is commonly ranked among the leading performers in electric blues; musician and critic Cub Koda declared, “no one could match Howlin’ Wolf for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while simultaneously scaring its patrons out of its wits.” A number of songs written or popularized by Burnett—such as “Smokestack Lightnin'”, “Back Door Man”, “Killing Floor” and “Spoonful”—have become blues and blues rock standards.
“A Robert Johnson may have possessed more lyrical insight, a Muddy Waters more dignity, and a B.B. King certainly more technical expertise, but no one could match him for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while simultaneously scaring its patrons out of its wits.”
Very fine documentary, The Howlin’ Wolf Story – The Secret History Of Rock and Roll (playlist with 8 videos):
“And he used to put on such a show. He would get down on the floor, crawl like a wolf and sing in that voice: “I’m a tail dragger.” He would do this boogie-woogie thing, around and around — like the kids used to do with the hula hoops, where you had to go around and around at your waist, to keep the hoop going. That was the kind of shit he was doing. I’d see that and think, “Man, there goes the Wolf.“”
Hard time’s is here
An ev’rywhere you go
Times are harder
Than th’ever been befo’
~Skip James – Hard Time Killing Floor Blues
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)
Nehemiah Curtis James
June 9, 1902
Bentonia, Mississippi, United States
October 3, 1969 (aged 67)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Musician, songwriter, preacher
Vocals, guitar, piano
Paramount, Vanguard,Biograph, Adelphi, Document, Snapper Music Group, Universe, Body & Soul, Yazoo, Genes
Nehemiah Curtis “Skip” James (June 9,1902 – October 3, 1969) was an American Delta blues singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter. Born in Bentonia, Mississippi, he died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“Just look at the picture of him with the acoustic guitar: His fingers are in the weirdest position. If you’re a guitar player looking at that, you know this is a guy who’s not even thinking; he’s just there. … The soul of his creative originality plays a huge part in music making for everyone who’s ever written a song and really known what they’re doing.”
“You think you’re getting a handle on playing the blues, and then you hear Robert Johnson — some of the rhythms he’s doing and playing and singing at the same time, you think, ‘This guy must have three brains!’ ”
Favorite album? I think the Robert Johnson album. I listen to that quite a bit still. ~Bob Dylan (Rockline interview – June 1985)
Cross Road Blues:
I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above “Have mercy, save poor Bob, if you please”
Yeoo, standin’ at the crossroad, I tried to flag a ride
Standin’ at The Crossroads, I tried to flag a ride
Ain’t nobody seem to know me, everybody pass me by
On 22 November 1981, in the middle of their mammoth American tour, the Rolling Stones arrived in Chicago prior to playing 3 nights at the Rosemont Horizon. Long influenced by the Chicago blues, the band paid a visit to Buddy Guy’s club the Checkerboard Lounge to see the legendary bluesman perform. It didn’t take long before Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Ian Stewart were joining in on stage and later Buddy Guy and Lefty Dizz also played their part. It was a unique occasion that was fortunately captured on camera. Now, restored from the original footage and with sound mixed and mastered by Bob Clearmountain, this amazing blues night is being made available in an official release for the first time.
-The Rolling Stones’ YouTube channel
..king of all post-war blues harpists,…. The fiery harmonica wizard took the humble mouth organ in dazzling amplified directions that were unimaginable prior to his ascendancy.
~Bill Dahl (allmusic.com)
Induction of Little Walter into R&R Hall of Fame in 2008:
“I’m a bluesman moving through a blues-soaked America, a blues-soaked world, a planet where catastrophe and celebration- joy and pain sit side by side. The blues started off in some field, some plantation, in some mind, in some imagination, in some heart. The blues blew over to the next plantation, and then the next state. The blues went south to north, got electrified and even sanctified. The blues got mixed up with jazz and gospel and rock and roll.”
― Cornel West, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, A Memoir
If you don’t know the blues… there’s no point in picking up the guitar and playing rock and roll or any other form of popular music.
The blues are the roots and the other musics are the fruits. It’s better keeping the roots alive, because it means better fruits from now on. The blues are the roots of all American music. As long as American music survives, so will the blues.
Here´s a list with 10 GREAT old acoustic blues songs. I´ve added youtube “videos” & a spotify playlist.
Blind Willie Johnson – Dark was the night, cold was the ground (1927/29)