RUNNING WITH WOLF

The music of the Chicago bluesman Chester Burnett retains its magnetism and vitality nearly 50 years after his death. You might know him better as Howlin’ Wolf.

 

Howlin’ Wolf, circa 1970. (Photo by Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images)

Whatever way you look at him, Howlin’ Wolf was a towering figure. At 6ft 3in and built to match, he was a seriously imposing presence, employing his physicality on stage to create a sense of authority and even threat. As a singer, his hoarse growl gave his performances an authority and drama that made them impossible to ignore. Though he dressed in sober suit and tie, his hair neatly clippered, he gave no doubt that he meant business. Even on record, the impression was the same: this was a man who could steal your woman and do you damage, and who had seen and felt things you never would.

Contributor

James Medd

Published

April 2022

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