Howlin’ Wolf Albums Ranked

Chester Arthur Burnett (June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976), known as Howlin’ Wolf, was a Chicago blues singer, guitarist, and harmonica player. Originally from Mississippi, he moved to Chicago in adulthood and became successful, forming a rivalry with fellow bluesman Muddy Waters. With a booming voice and imposing physical presence, he is one of the best-known Chicago blues artists. The 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'”, “Killing Floor” and “Spoonful”, have become blues and blues-rock standards. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 54 on its list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. Here are all Howlin’ Wolf albums ranked.

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10. The Real Folk Blues (1966)

“The Real Folk Blues consists of A-sides and B-sides recorded in Chicago from July 1956 onwards, including two recent singles, Killing Floor/Louise and Ooh Baby/Tell Me What I’ve Done, from 1965; and My Country Sugar Mama, a single released in December 1964. All five of these sides are in full stereo, the rest of the album being mono. More Real Folk Blues (1967) draws exclusively from an earlier pool of recordings made between September 1953 and January 1956, all mono, and kicks off with three previously unreleased recordings made for Sam Phillips in Memphis. Two tracks from a session with Willie Dixon in March 1954 were also previously unreleased, Neighbours and I’m The Wolf (the latter being a remake of a 1952 RPM single), the rest all having being available on singles.”

9. The Back Door Wolf (1973)

“Everything from Howlin Wolf deserves a fiver! Well everything I have heard anyway and that includes this album. If you are a fan of rock n roll and the Wolf was the link, you “hasta” have this hands up or down.”

8. Blues From Hell (2011)

“I am very happy with this compilation of Howlin’ Wolf classics. It has the right blend of songs from Wolf’s career and the sound quality is outstanding. I often feel like I was present when these songs were being recorded. All three discs can be listened to repeatedly, all day long.”

7. Howlin’ Wolf Album (1969)

“The songs are slowed WAY down, and just simmer! The music is layered with lots of good gooey guitar and harmonica. Despite what other reviewers say, this is still the blues, and really tasty at that. It’s not as huge a departure for Wolf as it was for Muddy. It works really well. It’s just good, simmering blues, with a bit of a twist.”

6. The Chess Box (1991)

“This Chess Box set brings the timeless songs & more importantly, the voice of the one & only Howlin Wolf. If you plan to buy just one set of Wolf tunes, this is definitely that one to get. But, let me warn you, it will set you on a mission to find even more of the Wolf’s work. In my opinion, his voice – more than anyone else’s except perhaps Son House, embodies the deepest true voice of the original Delta blues & sound. With sheer power like a locomotive, Wolf will leave you knowing without a doubt your ears have tapped into a pure vein of the blues in one of its finest forms. You will never regret having this set in your collection.”

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5. The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions (1971)

“If I could only have one Howlin’ Wolf album, this would be the one I chose. The Wolf teamed up with a few Brit rockers and cut an album for the ages! It’s Howlin’ Wolf with an edge you don’t find on his other albums. The London Sessions is essential blues.”

4. His Best (1977)

“Very beautiful anthology of the famous “Howler”, ranging from 51 to 64. The life of these recordings is exceptional, especially for those of the late 1950s, the best. Remasterization gives an impressive presence .”

3. The Genuine Article (1997)

“If you love blues music, then you already know Chester Burnett, a/k/a Howlin’ Wolf. Buy this if you do not own it. Otherwise, move along and search for deeper dives into his catalog.”

2. Howlin’ Wolf (1962)

“Amazing album that anyone should have in their collection. Howlin surprises with his voice, songs that have been heard and played by all the great musicians starting with the Rolling Stones”

1. Moanin’ In The Moonlight (1959)

“A fantastic CD that combines two of the earliest Howlin’ Wolf releases in one bargain-priced CD. I don’t think the music needs any reviewing–Howlin’ Wolf is one of the cornerstones of any beginner’s blues collection, and these two albums are an excellent place to start. Like a lot of people in my generation, I was first turned on to Wolf through the “London Sessions” album with Clapton, Winwood and other start of the British blues-rock galaxy, and I still love that album, but these albums are the ones that those guys listened to before starting their own bands. Essential listening.”