Howlin' Wolf's Classic Album "London Sessions" Gets Deluxe Treatment
Blues Great Howlin' Wolf's Classic 1971 Album "London Sessions" Remastered and Expanded into Two-CD "Deluxe Edition" Featuring Previously Unreleased Recordings with
Eric Clapton, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts and More.
Blues legend Howlin' Wolf. Rock god Eric Clapton. Rolling Stones Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts. A few days in May 1970. A London recording studio, with keyboard overdubs shortly thereafter by Stevie Winwood. "The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions." Now, more than 30 years down the road, that classic album has been digitally remastered and expanded with three bonus selections issued a few years later and a second disc of a dozen tracks never before released.
The two-CD "London Sessions (Deluxe Edition)" (MCA/Chess/UME), to be released February, 2003, revisits a once-in-a-lifetime blues supersession with alternate mixes and takes of some of the greatest blues songs ever recorded. The package's Bill Dahl-penned liner notes tell the extraordinary tale of the making of the album -- from intimidated rockers playing with a man they idolized to the latter's ill health and, at first, hostility. The added material was taken either from the original session masters remixed in 2002 from the original session multi-tracks or the original 1970 Chicago mixdown session masters.
CD One features the original mix of the original album, which was released in summer 1971 on Chess Records. Along with Howlin' Wolf's own "Rockin' Daddy," "Worried About My Baby," "Poor Boy," "Sittin' On Top Of The World" and "Who's Been Talking?" are his covers of Willie Dixon's "I Ain't Superstitious," "Built For Comfort," "The Red Rooster," "Do The Do" and "Wang Dang Doodle." The dozen songs also include Big Joe Williams' "Highway 49" and St. Louis Jimmy Oden's "What A Woman!" (a.k.a. "Commit A Crime"). Added to "London Sessions (Deluxe Edition)" are tracks culled from the 1974 Muddy Waters/Howlin' Wolf compilation "London Revisited": Wolf's "Killing Floor" and "I Want To Have A Word With You," and Oden's "Goin' Down Slow."
CD Two offers a rehearsal take of "Worried About My Baby"; alternate takes of "What A Woman!" "Who's Been Talking?" (with extensive studio dialogue), "I Ain't Superstitious," "Worried About My Baby," "Highway 49" and "Do The Do"; alternate mixes of "The Red Rooster," "What A Woman!" (with a Stevie Winwood organ overdub) and "Rockin' Daddy," plus an alternate mix with different lyrics for "Poor Boy."
Besides those who headlined, also heard on the album are Ringo Starr (credited as "Richie") on drums, "Sixth Stone" pianist Ian Stewart, Wolf's guitarist Hubert Sumlin, teenage harp prodigy Jeffrey Carp (who tragically drowned shortly after the sessions), bassists Phil Upchurch and Klaus Voorman, Willie Dixon's pianist Lafayette Leake, and the 43rd Street Snipers horn section.
Produced by Norman Dayron, and engineered by Glyn Johns, the original album became Howlin' Wolf's only one to hit the Top 100. Chester Arthur Burnett a.k.a. Howlin' Wolf passed away January 10, 1976 at age 65.