Birthday BLOW-out: Howlin’ Wolf’s hidden charms

When we looked at our calendar and realized that today was the anniversary of the birth of blues great Chester Arthur Burnett, a.k.a. Howlin’ Wolf (1910, West Point, Miss.), we knew we’d have to do something to commemorate the occasion. With so many great songs to choose from, we had no doubts we’d be able to come up with one or two worthy candidates for our Blues Lyrics of the Week (BLOW) feature, but after a quick listen to the Wolf’s His Best, it occurred to us that there’s really only one way to go about this.

So here’s a quick rundown of some of our all-time favorite lines from the Wolf (not including the ones we’ve already brought you in “Wang Dang Doodle,” “I Ain’t Superstitious,” and “Goin’ Down Slow”), many either written or co-written by Willie Dixon, and more often than not involving the pursuit, praise, or loss of a woman. No matter how many times some of these songs have been covered through the years, no one has ever done them any better than the Wolf, with his tough, booming voice and powerful playing on harmonica.

Regardless of whatever else you’re doing today, do yourself a favor and make Howlin’ Wolf’s music a part of it.

“She’s hot like red pepper,
sweet like cherry wine.
I’m so glad she love me,
love me all the time.

She my little baby,
sweet as she can be.
All this love she got,
still belongs to me.

If you hear me howlin’,
callin’ on my darlin’,
who, who who wee.”
– Howlin’ for My Darling, Chester Burnett, Willie Dixon

“Her lips are sweet,
her legs are big.
Her looks can make you, dance a jig.

Her touch is so soft,
her heart’s so warm.
What knocks me out, is your hidden charms…
Ooh wee, what a baby,
ooh wee, what a baby.

When, I, hold, her, in, my, arms,
brings out all of her, hidden charms.”
– Hidden Charms, Willie Dixon

“How many more years,
have I got to let you dog me around?
How many more years,
have I got to let you dog me around?
I’d as soon rather be dead,
sleeping six feet in the ground.”
– How Many More Years, Chester Burnett

“Whoa oh, asked her for water,
Whoa oh, she brought me gasoline.
Whoa oh, asked her for water,
Whoa oh, she brought me gasoline.
That’s the troubledest woman
that I ever seen.”
– I Asked for Water, Chester Burnett

“Well all you girls think the days are done –
you don’t hafta’ worry, you can have your fun.
Take me baby for your little boy –
you’re gettin’ three hundred pounds of heavenly joy.
Cuz’ this is it,
this is it,
look what you gettin’.”
– Three Hundred Pounds of Joy, Willie Dixon

“When everybody’s, tryin’ to sleep,
I’m somewhere making my, midnight creep.
Ev’ry mornin’ when, the rooster crow,
somethin’ tell me, I’ve got to go.
I am, a back door man.
I am, a back door man.
Well the, men don’t know,
but, little girls understand.”
– Back Door Man, Willie Dixon

“Some folk built like this,
some folk built like that.
But the way I’m built,
don’t ya’ call me fat.

Because I’m built for comfort,
I ain’t built for speed.
But I got everything,
all that a good girl needs.”
– Built for Comfort, Willie Dixon

“I shoulda’ quit you
a long time ago.
I shoulda’ quit you babe
a long time ago.
I shoulda’ quit you
and went on to Mexico.”
– Killing Floor, Chester Burnett

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