His Best: The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection

His Best: The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection

by Howlin' WolfHowlin' Wolf


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With the exception of a vinyl compilation issued in the early '80s (His Greatest Sides, Vol. 1), there'd never really ever been a single-disc Howlin' Wolf best-of package available. That all changed with this entry in MCA/Chess' 50th Anniversary series, a 20-track retrospective that serves as the perfect introduction to the man and his music, some of the very best the blues has to offer. While some naysayers will always decry the exclusion -- or inclusion -- of any given number of tracks on any artist's best-of compilation, it's pretty hard to fault what's been collected here. Starting with the two-sided smash that brought him from Memphis to Chicago ("Moanin' at Midnight" b/w "How Many More Years"), this compilation hits all the high points and essential tracks, illustrating how his music developed into the mid-'60s. Eleven of the 20 tunes on here are either written or co-written by Willie Dixon, and Wolf's original takes on "Back Door Man," "Spoonful," "The Red Rooster," "Wang Dang Doodle," and "I Ain't Superstitious" are truly the definitive ones, a place where personality and material symbiotically become as one. Even if you have already have this material, die-hard Wolf fans -- and audiophiles in particular -- will want to investigate this package as the master transfers used here are absolutely stunning, with stereo mixes of "Killing Floor," "Built for Comfort," "Hidden Charms" (with the full-length Hubert Sumlin guitar solo), "Shake for Me," and the long version of "Going Down Slow" being particular standouts. This is a set so essential that it should be on everyone's Top Ten first purchases in building the perfect blues collection. While Wolf's music will take you to many places (both musically and spiritually), here's where you start to absorb it all. [His Best contains the same tracks as the 2007 Geffen release The Definitive Collection].

Product Details

Release Date: 04/08/1997
Label: Chess
UPC: 0076732937525
catalogNumber: 9375
Rank: 8653

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Howlin' Wolf   Primary Artist,Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals
Willie Dixon   Bass,Vocals
Henry Gray   Piano
Buddy Guy   Bass
Freddie King   Guitar
Hubert Sumlin   Guitar
Johnny Jones   Piano
Sam Lay   Drums
Andrew McMahon   Bass
Jody Williams   Guitar
Alfred Elkins   Bass
Donald Hankins   Baritone Saxophone
Ike Turner   Piano
Hosea Lee Kennard   Guitar
Lafayette Leake   Piano
S.P. Leary   Drums
Abe Locke   Tenor Saxophone
Earl Phillips   Drums
Arnold Rogers   Tenor Saxophone
Jimmy Rogers   Guitar
Abe Smothers   Guitar
Otis Smokey Smothers   Guitar
Otis Spann   Piano
Willie Steel   Drums
Albert Williams   Piano
Adolph Duncan   Tenor Saxophone
Willie Johnson   Guitar

Technical Credits

Willie Dixon   Composer,Producer
Walter Vinson   Composer
Howlin' Wolf   Composer
Lonnie Chatmon   Composer
Leonard Chess   Producer
Phil Chess   Producer
Mark A. Humphrey   Liner Notes
Chester Burnett   Composer

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