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Hubert Sumlin and Howard Tate: Farewell to Two Blues Greats

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It was sometime in 1975, and my friend Richard and I were leaving our job which happened to be in a record store when Richard said, “Let’s go see Howlin’ Wolf.”  I was somewhat reluctant at first because various people had told me Wolf’s show was a comedy act with him sweeping the stage with a broom.  Richard said, “Are you crazy?  It’s Howlin’ Wolf.”  It turned out to be a good thing I listened to Richard because it turned out to me one of the most memorable musical nights of my life, one that’s still embedded in my mind.

Howlin’ Wolf rarely played Philly, and by the time he did, he wasn’t that old especially by today’s terms, but he was quite obviously very sick.  It didn’t make a damn bit of difference.  He was Howlin’ Wolf.  His band, Eddie Shaw & the Wolf Gang, preceded him onstage.  Finally he emerged, wearing a baby blue windbreaker, with some kind of medical something on his arm that looked it hooked up to an I.V.  He sat down, started playing his harmonica and the natural force that was Wolf took over the proceedings.

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About the author

Peter Stone Brown

Peter Stone Brown is a Songwriter and Journalist.

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