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The Howlin' Wolf Album

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Title: The Howlin' Wolf Album  
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Subject: 1969 in music, Howlin' Wolf, Electric Mud, Back Door Man, Howlin' Wolf (album), Pete Cosey, Spoonful, Smokestack Lightning, Marshall Chess, Charles Stepney
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The Howlin' Wolf Album

The Howlin' Wolf Album
Howlin' Wolf
Released 1969
Recorded November 1968
Genre Blues, psychedelic
Length 40:59
Label Cadet Concept
Producer Marshall Chess, Charles Stepney, Gene Barge
Howlin' Wolf chronology

Howlin' Wolf
The Howlin' Wolf Album
Message to the Young

The Howlin' Wolf Album is a 1969 album by Howlin' Wolf which mixed blues with psychedelic rock arrangements on several of Howlin' Wolf's classic songs. Howlin' Wolf strongly disliked the album, and Chess Records referenced this fact on the album's cover. The album peaked at #69 on the Billboard Black Albums chart.


In 1968, Chess Records made an attempt to modernize the sound of bluesmen Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters by convincing them to record Jimi Hendrix-inspired psychedelic arrangements resulting in the albums Electric Mud and The Howlin' Wolf Album.[1] The recording sessions for The Howlin' Wolf Album featured the same musicians as Electric Mud. Howlin' Wolf disliked the proposed sound, which he did not consider to be blues.[2] According to guitarist Pete Cosey, during the recording sessions, Howlin' Wolf "looked at me and he said 'Why don't you take them wah-wahs and all that other shit and go throw it off in the lake — on your way to the barber shop?'"[2]

Release and reception

Marshall Chess referred to Howlin' Wolf's dislike of the arrangements on the album's cover.[2][3] Howlin' Wolf took exception to the blurb, as he had enthusiastically adopted the use of electric guitar, and had led the first entirely electric blues combo in West Memphis in the early 1950s.[1] Howlin' Wolf stated that the album was "dog shit".[1][4] According to Chess, the album's cover hurt its sales. Chess states that "I used negativity in the title, and it was a big lesson: You can't say on the cover that the artist didn't like the album. It didn't really sell that well. But it was just an attempt. They were just experiments."[2]

The Howlin' Wolf Album did not sell as well as Electric Mud.[2] The Howlin' Wolf Album peaked at #69 on the Billboard Black Albums chart.[5] The album's single, "Evil", peaked at #43 on the R&B Singles chart.[5]

On March 22, 2011, a digitally remastered edition was released on compact disc by Get On Down Records. However, "Back Door Man" was about 33 seconds shorter on the compact disc reissue, appearing at 6:17, rather than 6:51 on the vinyl edition.[6][7]

Track listing

Side A
No. TitleWriter(s) Length
1. "Spoonful"  Willie Dixon 3:52
2. "Tail Dragger"  Dixon 4:33
3. "Smokestack Lightning"  Howlin' Wolf 3:56
4. "Moanin' at Midnight"  Howlin' Wolf, Taub 3:15
5. "Built for Comfort"  Dixon 5:11
Total length:
Side B
No. TitleWriter(s) Length
6. "The Red Rooster"  Dixon, Howlin' Wolf 3:50
7. "Evil"  Dixon, Howlin' Wolf 4:06
8. "Down in the Bottom"  Dixon 2:45
9. "Three Hundred Pounds of Joy"  Dixon 2:35
10. "Back Door Man"  Dixon 6:51
Total length:


Chart positions

Chart (1969) Peak Position
Black Albums 49[5]


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