WOLF HOWLIN', FEATURING HUBERT SUMLIN ON GUITAR. TABLATURE

WOLF HOWLIN', FEATURING HUBERT SUMLIN ON GUITAR. TABLATURE

Featuring Hubert Sumlin on Guitar
Series: Guitar Recorded Version TAB
Artist: Howlin' Wolf
Transcribed: KENN CHIPKIN, JOHN GARWOOD, FRED SOKOLOW

In West Memphis, Wolf put together a dynamic band that consisted of Willie Johnson and Matt
Murphy on guitars, Willie Steel on drums, Junior Parker on harmonica and a pianist called Bill
"Destruction" Johnson. Wolf blew harp and played electric guitar, and his combo swung as loud
and hard as any band in the Delta. Along with Muddy Waters and Elmore James, he was inventing
the modem blues-rock genre.
Willie Lee Johnson, (born March 4, 1923 in Senatobia, Mississippi,) came to Wolf's band with a
distinct, powerful style. His electric sound was raw and distorted, like Wolf's voice. His singlenote
solos and slashing chords raised the excitement quotient of the band. On "House Rockin'
Boogie" Wolf cried out, "Play that guitar, Willie Johnson, 'til it smoke ...Blow your top!" His
raunchy tone and aggressive solos established him as a pioneer in rock guitar history. (Paul
Burlison, rockabilly pioneer who played with Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio,
learned to get tube distortion playing Johnson's amp; he sometimes sat in for Johnson on Wolf's
KWEM daytime radio show, because Johnson had to plow the fields in the daytime!
Wolf's band played all over the South for years, and performed regularly on radio, building a
following. In 1951, Sam Phillips heard Wolf on the radio and declared "This is for me. This is
where the soul of man never dies." Sun Records, Phillips' company that first recorded Elvis
Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and other rock legends, did not yet exist,
but Phillips was recording "race" artists and leasing the masters to companies like Chess in
Chicago and the Bihari Brothers' RPM Records in Los Angeles. A visionary where American
roots music is concerned, Phillips singled out Wolf as one of his favorite deep, soulful singers.
Wolf and his band came to Memphis and recorded "Moanin' At Midnight" and "How Many
More Years," with pianist Ike Turner sitting in on the session. It was a double-sided hit. At the
age of forty-one, Wolf had his first top ten R&B record ...on the Chess label.
Ike Turner was a band leader, talent scout and A&R man for the Biharis, and Wolf became the
object of a dispute between RPM and Chess that ended when he signed with Chess and, soon
after, moved to Chicago. Muddy Waters introduced him to the club owners, and before long
Waters and Wolf were fierce rivals. They were the two most dynamic blues singers in Chicago,
both fronting seminal blues/rock bands, and both, incidentally, recording Willie Dixon tunes as
well as originals and blues standards. Their rivalry continued for decades: Willie Dixon once
said that if Wolf ever balked at recording a Dixon song, the songwriter would mention that
Waters was interested in cutting it (or vice versa).
At first, Wolf recorded with Chess regulars like pianist Otis Spann, bassist/songwriter/ arranger
Willie Dixon and drummer Earl Phillips. After a few years and many personnel changes, Wolf
recruited Willie Johnson from West Memphis, along with the other main guitarist in the Wolf
story, Hubert Sumlin.
Born in Greenwood, Mississippi on November 16, 1931, Sumlin was just a boy when he first
met Wolf and saw him perform. In 1954, he was working with blues harpist James Cotton, when
Wolf's job offer lured him to Chicago. Sumlin remained with Wolf (outside of a brief stint with
Muddy Waters) for twenty years, in an unusually close, almost father-son relationship. At first he
played rhythm guitar to Jody Williams' lead (his first recording with Wolf was the 1953 session
that produced "All Night Boogie"), but gradually Sumlin took over as lead guitarist and found
that he could think like Wolf, musically, and perfectly complement Wolf's voice and persona.
Robbie Robertson, Eric Clapton and many other artists have acknowledged Sumlin's impact on
their musical development. His taut, angular solos and backup licks are part of blues/rock
history.
 
Includes transcriptions, performance notes and lessons for 13 classic blues songs, including, 72 pages


Table of contents
All Night Boogie
Baby How Long
Forty-Four
Going Down Slow
How Many More Years
Howlin' Blues
I'm Leavin' You
Killing Floor
Moanin' At Midnight
Poor Boy
Sitting On Top Of The World
Smokestack Lightning
Who's Been Talking

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