Few if any figures in blues loom as large as Howlin’ Wolf, yet there’s been a sad lack of footage of this staggering musician. This is the story of the greatest of all 1950s-60s bluesmen… Howlin’ Wolf!
The Howlin’ Wolf Story – The Secret History of Rock & Roll is a documentary about the life of blues legend born Chester Burnett. Director Don McGlynn takes you back to the Delta to explore more than just the Howlin’ Wolf journey, but the history too of the blues development which resulted in American Rock everlasting history. It also sheds light on cultural history that gave birth to the genre.
The film features rare material, including performances of many of his classic Chess Records tunes, an appearance on the show Shindig, introduced by the Rolling Stones in 1964 and drummer Sam Lay’s home movies from the Chicago Blues scene of the 1960s. The film positively crackles with the electricity of his live performances, undiminished by the years, in particular a 1966 session set up by famed musicologist Alan Lomax.
Wolf was a big, imposing man with a booming, recognizable voice and a lasting influence on generations of rock & rollers–all of which comes across in the 87-minute film. Not only do we get a history of his life (told by family members and musical associates like longtime guitarist Hubert Sumlin), viewers also get insight into the history of the blues in general.
“It’s rather daunting to hear one like Howlin’ Wolf because you know you will never achieve that.” – Tom Waits
“Howlin’ Wolf gave me that feeling that he was right there standing in the river.” – John Fogerty
87 minutes / Music Documentary / Color and Black & White / A film by Don McGlynn ( Louis Prima: The Wildest!)
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Watch the trailer