Blues Heroes | Howlin’ Wolf

Howlin Wolf

“A lot of peoples holler about ‘I don’t like no blues,’ but when you ain’t got no money, and can’t pay your house rent and can’t buy you no food, you damn sure got the blues. If you ain’t got no money you got the blues, because you’re thinking evil. That’s right. Any time you’re thinking evil, you’re thinking about the blues.” – Howlin’ Wolf

Chester Arthur Burnett (June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976) was named after the 21st president. His eventual size – he was purportedly 6’3” and 300 lbs (191 cm and 136 kg) – would result in nicknames like Big Foot Chester & Bull Cow but they had already started calling him “Wolf” by the age of 3.

“My grandfather gave me that name. He used to sit down and tell me tall stories about what the wolf would do. Because I was a bad boy, you know, always in devilment. I’d say ‘Well, what do the wolf do?’ He’d say ‘Howl.’ You know, to scare me, you know, and I’d get mad about this. I didn’t know it would be a great name.”

Born in Mississippi, the list of Delta musicians that helped Wolf on his journey to becoming one of the most recognizable Chicago blues artists is a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of Blues: Continue reading

Let’s hear it for the girls! Celebrating Blues Women

12 Days of Blues-Mas 2017 | Episode #10

Written by Claire Snook

Ahhhh, the blues. There’s something about this music that has captured the imagination and interest of millions of people across the world and decades. The idea of a lone man with his guitar, hobo-ing around the Mississippi Delta or playing in the dark clubs of Chicago and New York, trying to make ends meet with their music is an established one that runs deep in modern culture.

That image was hugely reinforced with the rediscovery of blues in the sixties, with encouragement from promoters to appeal to a new audience, and it worked. The careers of many bluesmen were relaunched and they got to travel the world, playing the music they’d written and sung twenty or thirty or even forty years earlier.

Obviously great to see these musicians finally recognised!

But what about the women?

Women in Blues Continue reading

Cut Straight to Record | Recording technology & the sound of early Blues

12 Days of Blues-Mas 2017 | Episode #9

Written by Dr Anders Ingram

My recent release, The Trouble EP, was recorded and cut direct to vinyl by The Lathe Revival in Newcastle in 2016 using 1930s equipment. You can listen to it here.

I’d be willing to bet that if I had told you that these recordings were made in the late 1930s or early 40s you would have believed me. It just has that sound … but what is that sound exactly?

Anyone who has ever put a second hand record on a deck can tell you that dust, static, and a worn stylus, etc. can cause hiss, crackle, and pops, while wear and scratches to the record can cause many other sound issues. However, this is something more. The fundamental sound itself is shaped by the format and the recording process.

So what was that process?
Continue reading