“The Back Door Wolf” by Howlin’ Wolf - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1973Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

Recorded in August ’73, the final album from the urban blues veteran was in the shops by November. Now at 63-year-old, the big-feller’s taking it slightly easier, having suffered a couple of heart-attacks in the last few years. His trusty group leader, Eddie Shaw, pens 5 of these, the Wolf delivers 2. It’s his own “Moving” which opens the set, and he lets us know where his head’s at: “I’m still a backdoor man, but I ain't gonna tote my forty-four, no more”. It’s a compromise of sorts. He fancies headin’ back home in his retirement: “My name reign in Mississippi, An' Alabama an' Georgia, too, I'm goin' back down South, Where the woman sure know what to do”. Now that’s twice he’s been flirtin’ with the ladies in the first 3 minutes. What will Mrs Burnett have to say? Ha-ha – he’s playing his bad-boy role as well as ever. Heralding the album’s release, “Coon On The Moon” and “The Back Door Wolf” were issued as a 45 in September – both cuts are highlights in a consistently decent set. The former bites hard: “You know they call us ‘coon’, say we didn't have no sense, You gon’ wake up one mornin', an the ol’ 'coon’ gon’ be your president”. They can see a change is gonna come – but it ain’t happening quick enough. Even better is “Speak Now Woman” – I’m just a sucker for that that nagging Jimmy Reed slow-drag, although the prominent harpsichord, a recurring feature on this LP, seems a bit weird and takes a bit of getting over. Still, the big guy over-powers and retires with his credibility in A1 condition. Oh, and Wolf’s crew were spot on about that future president.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:45] 6.3.png Howlin’ Wolf - Moving (Chester Burnett) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
A2 [03:45] 6.8.png Howlin’ Wolf - Coon On The Moon (Eddie Shaw) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
A3 [04:59] 6.9.png Howlin’ Wolf - Speak Now Woman (James Oden) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
A4 [03:33] 6.8.png Howlin’ Wolf - Trying To Forget You (Eddie Shaw) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
A5 [02:52] 6.8.png Howlin’ Wolf - Stop Using Me (Chester Burnett) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
B1 [02:31] 6.3.png Howlin’ Wolf - Leave Here Walking (Eddie Shaw) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
B2 [04:03] 6.9.png Howlin’ Wolf - The Back Door Wolf (Eddie Shaw, Ralph Bass) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
B3 [04:50] 6.4.png Howlin’ Wolf - You Turn Slick On Me (Emery Williams Jr.) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
B4 [03:10] 6.4.png Howlin’ Wolf - Watergate Blues (Eddie Shaw) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
B5 [02:31] 5.2.png Howlin’ Wolf - Can’t Stay Here (Andrew McMahon) Blues / Rhythm n Blues

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