Q - 12/02, p.133
"...Drawing on the more devilish aspects of the Delta blues and giving it a shot of '50s electricity, Wolf foreshadowed rock's darker reaches..."
Personnel includes: Howlin' Wolf (vocals, harmonica); Willie Johnson, Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Rogers (guitar); Adolph "Billy" Duncan (tenor saxophone); Ike Turner, Otis Spann, Lafayette Leake (piano); Willie Dixon, Buddy Guy (bass); Willie Steele (drums).
Producers: Leonard Chess, Phil Chess, Willie Dixon.
Recorded between 1951 & 1964. Includes liner notes by Mark Humphrey.
This is part of Chess Records' 50th Anniversary series.
Personnel: Howlin' Wolf (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Willie Dixon (vocals); Abe Smothers, Freddie King, Hubert Sumlin, Hosea Lee Kennard, Jimmy Rogers , Jody Williams, Otis Smokey Smothers, Willie Johnson (guitar); Abe Locke, Adolph Duncan, Arnold Rogers (tenor saxophone); Donald Hankins (baritone saxophone); Henry Gray, Ike Turner, Johnny Jones , Lafayette Leake, Otis Spann, Albert Williams (piano); Earl Phillips, Willie Steel, S.P. Leary, Sam Lay (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Erick Labson.
Liner Note Author: Mark A. Humphrey.
Recording information: Chicago, IL (05/17/1951-08/??/1964); Memphis, TN (05/17/1951-08/??/1964).
Photographers: Peter Amft; Joseph Sia; Ray Flerlage; Frank Driggs; Brian Smith ; John Gibbs Rockwood.
Since even Howlin' Wolf's worst recordings are compelling in some regard, it should go without saying that HIS BEST, a collection of his finest Chess sides, is magnificent from beginning to end. Possessed of fine guitar and harp skills, a voice that could separate skin from bone, and a sheer magnetism and charisma that knew (and has known) no equal, Howlin Wolf is one of 20th century music's greatest performers.
Every track here is stellar, and a few like "Evil," "Smokestack Lightnin'," "Back Door Man" and "Spoonful," will have listeners wearing out the repeat button on their disc players. Wolf's ferocious delivery can inspire terror and delight ("Three Hundred Pounds of Joy") equally, and the power of his voice can make you want to shout, laugh, cry or destroy some property. Though true fans may want to investigate the individual albums, HIS BEST is a consistently untouchable collection.