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B.B. King’s One Kind Favor is one of the better albums of the year, and probably the best of King’s long career.  The album’s dozen songs were all popular blues tunes when King’s career was taking off in the 1940s and 1950s, and they were all great influences – hence the album’s title. 

Howlin' Wolf

As we said in our review of the album, it’s tough to pick out highlights on an album this strong.  But one song that jumped out at me was “How Many More Years,” originally by blues legend Howlin’ Wolf.  Although the song is a staple of compilations put out on Chicago-based Chess Records, “How Many More Years” was actually recorded in 1951 in Memphis.  The Wolf was working on Sun Records, and the song was produced by the legendary Sam Phillips.  That’s Ike Turner on piano!  The song was released as a single; it went to No. 4 on the R&B charts, and was instrumental in getting Howlin’ Wolf signed to Chess a few years later.

Howlin’ Wolf, whose real name was Chester Burnett, worked with the great songwriter Willie Dixon and produced a number of blues classics including “Smokestack Lightning,” “The Red Rooster” and “Spoonful,” covered by everyone from Cream to the Rolling Stones.  Howlin’ Wolf died in 1976, and Eric Clapton purchased a stone for his grave.

MP3: “How Many More Years” by Howlin’ Wolf

MP3: “How Many More Years” by B.B. King

YouTube: Howlin’ Wolf in 1966

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