This months Throwback Thursday will focus on the 1950’s
A decade which started Rock’n’Roll.
We couldn’t leave the 50’s without mentioning the blues, one considered by many to be one of the ‘fathers of Blues’, Howlin’ Wolf, and his debut album ‘Moanin’ In The Moonlight’. This album was actually a compilation album, made up of songs which were previously released as singles by Chess Records, and all songs bar ‘Forty-Four’ and ‘Evil’ were wrote by Howlin Wolf himself.
The track listing for this album consisted of 12 songs, one of which is arguably Howlin Wolf’s most notable song ‘Smokestack Lightnin’, as well as; ‘Moaning At Midnight’, ‘How Many More Years’, ‘Baby How Long’, ‘No Place To Go’, ‘All Night Boogie’, ‘Evil’, ‘I’m Leaving You’, ‘I Asked You For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)’, ‘Forty-Four’, and ‘Somebody In My Home’.
As I previously mentioned, Howlin Wolf (Chester Burnett) wrote all bar two of the songs. ‘Forty Four’ was written by Roosevelt Sykes, but credited to Wolf, and the first track on the B-side, ‘Evil’, was written by Willie Dixon. This was the first time ‘Evil’ was covered, and the song was wrote for Wolf to perform, however, it has now been covered by artists such as; Captain Beefheart, Canned Heat, Gary Moore and Tom Jones.
The most notable song on the album, ‘Smokestack Lightnin’, was one of Wolf’s earliest songs, which he used to perform in small Delta communities. The track takes influence from earlier blues music, such as ‘Big Road Blues’ by Tommy Johnson, and ‘Stop And Listen Blues’, by the Mississippi Sheiks. The song managed to get to Number 11 in the Billboard R&B Charts in 1956, and then, when released almost 10 years later in the UK, it only managed to peak at 42 in the singles chart. This song was a favourite in the early days of The Who, Manfred Mann, and The Yardbirds. It has also been recorded by fellow father of Blues Muddy Waters, Creedance Clearwater Revival, and Bob Dylan, to name a few of the many artists who have covered this early Blues masterpiece.
All in all, this album didn’t do much in terms of being influential for the rest of the music industry, however, ‘Smokestack Lightnin’, influenced some of the biggest British and American bands, and was a favourite song for them to play in their early days.