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Howlin' Wolf - Smokestack Lightning: The Complete Chess Masters 1951-1960

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You would think by now, some thirty-five years after his death, that every available recording from the great Howlin' Wolf would have been released. This collection of Wolf's output during his years with the Chess label though offers fifteen tracks not previously released in the U.S., including self-penned numbers like "California Boogie" where Wolf's howling presages Tom Waits and the similarly sounding boogie of "Smile at Me." But most of the previously unreleased tracks are alternate takes of known songs and include multiple versions of "I'm Leaving You," "Howlin' For My Baby" and "I've Been Abused." Some of the alternates are notable not only for the music, but because of instructions from the control booth, like on "Mr. Airplane Man" where the recording engineer advises Wolf, "Moan on the sonofabitch, will ya?" There are nearly a hundred songs here spread over 4 CDs and with lots of Wolf favorites like "Back Door Man," "Spoonful," "The Natchez Burning" and of course the very famous title cut. This limited edition set is packaged in a book style album, just like early Wolf 78s on Chess were, and includes 40 pages of notes and photos.


Howlin' Wolf - Smokestack Lightning: The Complete Chess Masters 1951-1960

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