The Tomas Doncker Band - Howlin' Wolf EP

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The initial reaction to The Tomas Doncker Band's Howlin' Wolf EP is the audacity of it! After all, it takes a boatload of gall to try and take on a set of songs first made famous be the most distinctive voice in Chicago blues history. When Howlin' Wolf sang about evil, with that bear-like growl of his, you truly believe this man/beast was evil incarnate.

However, once you get past the intestinal fortitude it took to pay tribute to this legend, you realize just how good the Doncker and band are. Granted, his roar is not nearly as ferocious as Wolf's was. However, Satan's demons aren't nearly as scary as Beelzebub is either, so fair is fair.

A second issue at hand is the utter over familiarity of these songs. Let's face it: "Spoonful" and "Smokestack Lighting" probably get played at least once at nearly every blues festival, so everybody already knows these songs pretty well. Therefore, one of Doncker's big challenges was to bring new life to sounds that have already been ingrained into the blues fan's psyche.

With the help of David Barnes, who plays a mean harp throughout, Doncker has answered the bell, so to speak, with a fitting tribute. He won't make you forget the wonderful Howlin' Wolf. Instead, you'll help you remember that legend, fondly.

The Tomas Doncker Band - Howlin' Wolf EP
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