Song of the Day: “Smokestack Lightning”


Howlin’ Wolf is the moniker of Chester Arthur Burnett, the legendary blues artist whose voice gave him his name. But the 6 foot 3, 270 lb. Burnett may have just as easily earned his reputation from the feral spirit animating his music. During an early radio performance, he attempted to define blues music for his audience:

If you ain’t got no money, you got the blues, ‘cause you’re thinkin’ evil. Anytime you thinkin’ evil, you thinkin’ about the blues.

Evil never sounded so good. Watch the 1964 live performance of his single, “Smokestack Lightning,” here.

Read more of Max Gray at Big City Sasquatch or follow him on Twitter @City_Sasquatch. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Encounters, Mount Hope, Conte,, and English Kills Review. He co-hosts the etymology podcast Words For Dinner and is a graduate of the Rutgers-Newark MFA program. More from this author →