“I am, a back door man,
I am, a back door man
Well the, men don’t know,
But the little girls
You’re in Chicago in the late 50s in one of those smoke-filled bars that Simone is always talking about. Suddenly this huge black man gets up on stage, strikes a chord and starts howling. The crowd is electrified and terrified at the same time, and nobody can stay in their seat. So you give in and let the music take hold, and for one night you forget about life’s hardships and sorrows.
Our fifth Artist of the Week was born in Mississippi in 1910. He was a talented Blues guitarist, harmonica player and singer with a rough haunting voice. In 1951 he was discovered by Sam Phillips, and in 1953 he moved to Chicago where he would sign to Chess Records. He would go on to record Blues classics such “Little Red Rooster”, “Spoonful”, “Smokestack Lightinin’”, and “Back Door Man”.
His songs always depicted smooth-talking irresistible men, angry unfaithful women and loud raucous parties that never ended. This contrasted with his relatively stable personal life, as he was one of the few Blues giants able to successfully manage his finances. Countless futures generations of musicians later cited him as a major influence, including the various bands of the British Invasion and the psychedelic rock groups in the US such as Jimi Hendrix and the Doors.
I first heard of him while reading an interview with the Rolling Stones, who cited him as a major influence on their careers, and I wondered to myself: who is this guy and why have I never heard of him? It only took one song to get me hooked.
For making music about heart-wrenching suffering that is soulful, lively and fun, we at Tales of Extraordinary Sanity are proud to name Howlin’ Wolf as our fifth artist of the week.
- Carlos de la Gringa