John Scott's Staff Pick: December 1, 2022

What’s up Sorry State readers. I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving last week. I personally am a big fan of the sides when it comes to Thanksgiving, especially some good dressing and mac n cheese. Dessert wise I’m definitely going pecan pie, but most people I know prefer pumpkin. To each their own. Anyways, you’re not here to read about food. Let’s get to the music. This week I’d like to talk about the album that introduced me to the blues, Rockin’ Chair by Howlin’ Wolf. I actually was introduced to the music of Howlin’ Wolf through the Grateful Dead. I loved their versions of Spoonful and The Red Rooster and one day while listening my brother said to me, “man you need to listen to Howlin’ Wolf.” I can’t even lie, I didn’t even realize the songs were covers (written by Willie Dixon but first recorded by Howlin’ Wolf) when I was first listening to them, but when I heard these original versions, I instantly fell in love with them. The gruff and grit in Howlin’ Wolf’s voice is just unmatched by anyone else. It sounds so raw. It makes sense though. He was a mountain of a man, standing tall at 6 foot 3 inches and weighing around 300 pounds. You can really hear the pain and hurt behind his booming voice when he’s singing. When I find myself feeling down, I just throw on some Howlin’ Wolf. There’s something comforting about listening to a guy singing songs written 60+ years ago about the same feelings you’re feeling. It makes you feel less isolated in the way you feel, at least for me. That’s why I love the blues. It makes you feel better about feeling bad. It’s not all sad though. Songs like Wang-Dang-Doodle are just straight up fun to listen to and belt out (and fun to say). I can listen to this man in any mood, happy or sad, and still love it all the same. Howlin’ Wolf is a legend in pretty much every sense of the word, and I’m forever grateful for his contributions to music and the lasting impact he had on it.

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