Learn and Play Harmonica Online Forums General Harmonica Discussion Howling Wolf’s Birthday Today!

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  • Mitch Grainger
    Post count: 239

    Howlin’ Wolf (born Chester Arthur Burnett, June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976) was a Chicago blues singer, guitarist, and harmonica player. Originally from Mississippi, he moved to Chicago in adulthood and became successful, forming a rivalry with fellow bluesman Muddy Waters. With a booming voice and imposing physical presence, he is one of the best-known Chicago blues artists.

    The musician and critic Cub Koda noted, “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.” Producer Sam Phillips recalled, “When I heard Howlin’ Wolf, I said, ‘This is for me. This is where the soul of man never dies.'”

    Several of his songs, including “Smokestack Lightnin'”, “Killing Floor” and “Spoonful”, have become blues and blues rock standards. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 54 on its list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.

    The above is from wikiepedia.

    He was also an understated tasetful and possibly under appreciated blues harmonica player, who had a lot of respect from Muddy and others for these skills.

    Check him out here:

    and here. His throat vibrato is off the chart good!!


    Ryan Moffatt
    Post count: 45

    Awesome! I’ve heard this name floating around and praised. That voice is very unique and earth shaking! Thanks for that background, Mitch. Always trying to expand my blues repertoire.

    I’ve been listening to a bit more modern lately: James Harman (may he rip), as well as William Clarke, and Gary Smith. Without the influence of these cats like Wolf and Muddy, they’d/we’d be lost. What has everyone else be listening to?

    Post count: 85

    Thanks for sharing his Mitch… I think Howlin Wolf is such an amazing example to be 100% you when you are playing… that dude was anything but “Luke warm”! No holding back… every time I have seen a video of him on stage… it’s like I’ve never seen anyone so “all in” in their performance. Wow did he have a spirit and know how to convey it through his music!
    Not too long ago my wife and I were walking our pups through town and I stopped in front of a shaded stoop to sit and play some harp. After a few minutes an older man came walking toward me with his dog. He stopped me and asked if I liked sonny boy. We started talking and he began reminiscing about his time living in Chicago back in the day where he would go and see little Walter, muddy waters, and many others. My wife and I soaked it in as he recalled stories about the old blues clubs and even having dinner with Son House. He then got a little sparkle to his eyes as he spoke about his close and personal relationship to Howlin Wolf. He spoke so fondly of him, it was so nice to get to hear that side of Howlin Wolf… It was such a cool experience to just listen and soak up the vibe from all his stories. I felt so blessed for the experience and wanted to share it with you all.

    Mitch Grainger
    Post count: 239

    Shawn that is so awesome!! Good on you for just busting out the harmonica in public like that. See what cool stuff can happen when you do!!

    Reminds me of a story Max Geldray has about getting on the last boat out of Occupied France in the beginning of world war two.

    There was a blockade of cars, backed up miles, all trying to get to the port, so he just gave in and sat on the bonnet of his car and started playing harmonica.

    An officer from the ship happened to be walking by, got talking to him about it and then next thing he’s on the ship.

    That’s from his book “Goon with the wind” if anyone’s interested in the life and times of a great chromatic harmonica player.

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