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Moanin' in the Moonlight

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Title: Moanin' in the Moonlight  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Howlin' Wolf, Smokestack Lightning, Howlin' Wolf albums, Killing Floor (Howlin' Wolf song), Wang Dang Doodle
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Moanin' in the Moonlight

Moanin' in the Moonlight
Compilation album by Howlin' Wolf
Released 1959
Recorded May 14 or August 1951 at Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee – March 1959 in Chicago, Illinois[1][2]
Genre Chicago blues, Electric blues
Length 33:53
Label Chess
Producer Leonard Chess, Phil Chess, Willie Dixon, Sam Phillips
Howlin' Wolf chronology
Moanin' in the Moonlight
Howlin' Wolf
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic Link

Moanin' in the Moonlight was the debut album by American blues singer Howlin' Wolf. The album was a compilation of previously issued singles by Chess Records. It was originally released by Chess Records as a mono-format LP record in 1959 (see 1959 in music). The album has been reissued several times, including a vinyl reissue in 1969 titled Evil.


  • Recording and production 1
  • Artwork, packaging, and promotion 2
  • Accolades 3
  • Track listing 4
  • Personnel 5
  • Release history 6
  • References 7

Recording and production

The two earliest songs on Moanin' in the Moonlight were "Moanin' at Midnight" and "How Many More Years". These two songs were recorded at Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee on May 14, 1951 or August 1951. These two songs were sold to the Chess brothers, Leonard and Phil, who released them as a single on August 15, 1951. The rest of the songs on the album were recorded in Chicago, Illinois and were produced by either the Chess brothers and/or Willie Dixon.[1][2]

Artwork, packaging, and promotion

The original version of Moanin' in the Moonlight featured cover artwork by Don S. Bronstein and sleeve notes by Billboard editor Paul Ackerman.[3] The label pressings from the original series have different colors on it because several pressing plants were used.[4]

The album was featured on an advertisement in Billboard magazine on August 10, 1959, which misprinted the album's title as Howlin' at Midnite.[5]


In 1987 Moanin' in the Moonlight was given a W.C. Handy Award under the category of "Vintage/Reissue Album (US)".[6] Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album as #153 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[7] Robert Palmer has cited "How Many More Years" (recorded May 1951) as the first record to feature a distorted power chord, played by Willie Johnson on the electric guitar.[8]

Track listing

All songs written by Chester Burnett, except when noted.

Side one
  1. "Moanin' at Midnight" – 2:58
  2. "How Many More Years" – 2:42
  3. "Smokestack Lightnin'" – 3:07
  4. "Baby How Long" – 2:56
  5. "No Place to Go" – 2:59
  6. "All Night Boogie" – 2:12
Side two
  1. "Evil" – 2:55 (Willie Dixon)
  2. "I'm Leavin' You" – 3:01
  3. "Moanin' for My Baby" – 2:47
  4. "I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)" – 2:53
  5. "Forty-Four" – 2:51 (Roosevelt Sykes, credited to Burnett)
  6. "Somebody in My Home" – 2:27


The following people contributed to Moanin' in the Moonlight:[1][2]

Release history

Region Date Label Format Catalog
United States 1959 Chess Records mono LP LP-1434
United Kingdom February 1965 Chess Records mono LP CRL 4006
United Kingdom January 1967 Marble Arch mono LP MAL 665
United States 1969 Chess Records mono LP LP-1540
United States 1986 MCA Records/Chess Records mono LP CH-9195
mono Cassette CHC-9195


  1. ^ a b c Howlin' Wolf / Moanin' in the Moonlight (CD liner).  
  2. ^ a b c Humphrey, Mark (2007).  
  3. ^  
  4. ^ David Edwards; Mike Callahan; Randy Watts. "Chess Album Discography, Part 1 (1956–1965)". Both Sides Now Publications. Retrieved March 6, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Chess Producing Corporation Advertisement".  
  6. ^ Past Blues Music Awards. Blues Foundation. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  7. ^ by Howlin' Wolf"Moanin' in the Moonlight".  
  8. ^ Robert Palmer, "Church of the Sonic Guitar", pp. 13-38 in Anthony DeCurtis, Present Tense, Duke University Press, 1992, pp. 24-27. ISBN 0-8223-1265-4.
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