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Memories of Chester “Howlin’ Wolf” Burnett and Willie Johnson

Memories of Chester “Howlin’ Wolf” Burnett and Willie Johnson

Chapter:
(p.165) Memories of Chester “Howlin’ Wolf” Burnett and Willie Johnson
Source:
Charley Patton
Author(s):
Dick Shurman
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496816139.003.0007

This chapter begins by looking at the musical link between Charley Patton and one of his musical protegés, Chester Burnett, the Howlin' Wolf. Of course, Wolf was a product of the Mississippi Delta blues tradition, with personal contact with Patton and a strong Tommy Johnson influence. Wolf recorded Patton's “Pony Blues” as “Saddle My Pony,” and later did a classic version of “Spoonful” more related through vocal style than lyrics. It's easy to hear Patton's growl in Wolf's vocals, and some of Patton's clowning obviously left a strong impression on young Chester. The chapter then focuses on Willie Johnson, which was one of Howlin' Wolf's best-known associates in the South and Chicago, and one of the most electrifying and exciting guitarists of the 1950s.

Keywords:   Charley Patton, Chester Burnett, Howlin' Wolf, Mississippi Delta blues, vocal style, Willie Johnson

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