One of the greatest artists the blues ever produced, Howlin' Wolf was a musical giant in every way. He stood six foot three, weighed almost three hundred pounds, wore size sixteen shoes, and poured out his darkest sorrows onstage in a voice that captured all the pain of growing up black and poor in Jim Crow Mississippi. Half a century after his ...
One of the greatest artists the blues ever produced, Howlin' Wolf was a musical giant in every way. He stood six foot three, weighed almost three hundred pounds, wore size sixteen shoes, and poured out his darkest sorrows onstage in a voice that captured all the pain of growing up black and poor in Jim Crow Mississippi. Half a century after his first hits, his sound still terrifies and inspires. Wolf began his career singing with the first Delta blues stars, was present at the birth of rock 'n' roll in Memphis, and vied with rival Muddy Waters for the title of king of Chicago blues. This new and revised edition is full of harrowing anecdotes about his early years, entertaining stories about his decades at the top, and never-before-seen photographs of the artist onstage. An essential volume for Wolf's legions of fans, lovers of blues, and anyone interested in the history of American music.
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Publishers Weekly, 2004-04-12 This fluid, fascinating and thoroughly researched biography is a long overdue tribute to one of the two giants of post-WWII Chicago-style electric blues music. Music writers Segrest and Hoffman do a superb job of capturing the many facets of Wolf's long career, making it a worthy companion to Robert Gordon's recent book on the other Chicago blues giant, Can't Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters. But while Waters was controlled and sexy, Segrest and Hoffman show, in contrast, how Wolf was ferocious, angry and unpredictable, a large man with a powerful, raspy voice and a keen intelligence. Born Chester Burnett in Mississippi in 1910, Wolf, as the authors show, endured "crushing poverty" and almost constant physical abuse, the source of much of the anger in his music. The authors nicely detail the important musicians who influenced Wolf, from Charlie Patton, the acknowledged master of country blues who taught Wolf to play the guitar, to Reggie Boyd, the brilliant but obscure guitar teacher who encouraged Wolf's desire to expand his already enormous musical vision. Best of all, the authors wonderfully describe Wolf's inimitable style on the many recordings he made in Chicago for Chess Records, such as "Smokestack Lightnin," Wolf's masterpiece: "Over a hypnotic guitar figure and a driving rhythm that subtly accelerates like a locomotive, Wolf sang a field holler vocal, interspersed with falsetto howls like a dread lupine beast just down the road at midnight." Agent, Sandra Choron. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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