Howlin’ at Greaseland
2017 –West Tone Records
Release Date : 2017
By Phillip Smith; Dec 30, 2017
Howlin’ Wolf has always been one of my favorite bluesmen and I was quite excited to hear this new compilation of the Wolf’s music masterminded by producer Stephanie Tice and Christopher ‘Kid’ Andersen. Howlin’ at Greaseland was recorded at Andersen’s Greaseland Studio in San Jose, California, and features a terrific crew of blues singers consisting of Alabama Mike, John Blues Boyd, Tail Dragger Jones, Henry Gray, Aki Kumar, Terry Hanck, and Lee Donald. The band has a rotating cast of notable Bay area blues artists on hand too. With Andersen himself on guitar for the majority of the songs, others include: Rick Estrin(harmonica), Aki Kumar(harp), Rockin’ Johnny Burgin(guitar), Johnny Cat Soubrand(guitar), Vance Ehlers(bass), Jim Pugh(piano), Dmar Martin(drums), Lorenzo Farrell(piano), Alex Pettersen(drums), Robby Yamilov(bass), Joe Kyle Jr.(bass), June Core(drums), Henry Gray(piano), Patrick Rynn(bass), Chris James(guitar), Eric Spaulding(sax) and Mike Phillips(bass).
The album wonderfully begins with the infectious hook of “Meet Me in the Bottom”. Alabama Mike pours himself into his performance. Kid Andersen’s slide guitar sounds so nice, especially paired with the harp playing of Rick Estrin. It’s a terrific way to start the record. This really has a way of warming the listener up for the killer rendition of “Smokestack Lightnin’” sung by John Blues Boyd. This one features both Kid and Rockin’ Johnny Burgin on guitars, as well as Estrin on harp, delicately accented by the piano prowess of Jim Pugh(Robert Cray Band). Tail Dragger delivers the goods on “Don’t Trust No Woman”, as he belts the tune out with tons of experience. Rockin’ Johnny Burgin splendidly keeps the song rolling on guitar while Aki Kumar delivers a big juicy performance on harp. I love Henry Gray’s remarkable piano and vocal delivery of “Little Red Rooster”. It is blues at its purest. The album comes to a close with sweet recording of “Spoonful” sung with conviction by John Blues Boyd. Players on hand for this track include Kid Andersen and Rockin’ Johnny on guitars, with Rick Estrin on harp, Joe Kyle Jr. on bass, Jim Pugh on organ, and Eric Spaulding on sax. They sound so great together; I certainly would be up for hearing more of these compilations from Greaseland.
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