Little Wolf has been named 2007 Male Blues Vocalist of the Year by the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame. It is little wonder that Little Wolf, a Bay Area blues veteran, is being recognized for his amazing vocal style and riveting stage presence.Little Wolf is not new to the national music scene. As a band leader and accomplished drummer in the early 80’s Malik managed and arranged backup bands for many blues luminaries like Big Joe Turner, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy McCracklin, and others…..
Funky blues work from Howlin Wolf – his key entry into the funked-up genre that Chess Records was cutting at the end of the 60s with other blues artists like Etta James, Bo Diddley, and Muddy Waters! As on records with those artists, Wolf's older modes are updated here for a hipper, younger audience – backed up with a bouncing batch of electrified backings arranged by Sonny Thompson, and conducted by Thompson and Cash McCall, the latter of whom is most likely playing a bit of guitar here. Tracks are a bit longer than usual, and filled with plenty of heavy guitar bits next to the vocals – and titles include "I Smell A Rat", "Miss James", "If I Were A Bird", "She's Lookin Good", "Turn Me On", and "Message To The Young".
Chester Arthur Burnett, known as Howlin' Wolf, was a Chicago blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player, originally from Mississippi. With a booming voice and looming physical presence, he is one of the best-known Chicago blues artists. Musician and critic Cub Koda noted, "no one could match Howlin' Wolf for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while simultaneously scaring its patrons out of its wits." Producer Sam Phillips recalled, "When I heard Howlin' Wolf, I said, 'This is for me. This is where the soul of man never dies'". Several of his songs, including "Smokestack Lightnin'", "Back Door Man", "Killing Floor" and "Spoonful", have become blues and blues rock standards. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 51 on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time."
Howlin' Wolf may be gone, but his spirit lives on, as this 13-track tribute album featuring members of the Wolf's own band attests. Sam Lay, Eddie Shaw, Hubert Sumlin, and the rest are as tight and smooth as they ever were playing behind Howlin' Wolf, and they've got an array of guest stars to do the Wolf proud. Taj Mahal (sounding a good bit like Wolf himself) is here, as are guitar-slinger Debbie Davies and multi-instrumentalist Kenny Neal. Lucinda Williams does a bluesy turn, and there are contributions from Lucky Peterson, James Cotton, and more. The CD features plenty of Wolf favorites, including "Saddle My Pony," "Howlin' for My Darling," "The Red Rooster," "Howlin' Wolf Boogie," and "Smokestack Lightnin'," among others. All in all, it's a fitting tribute to a man whose contribution to the blues is immeasurable.