Funky blues work from Howlin Wolf – his key entry into the funked-up genre that Chess Records was cutting at the end of the 60s with other blues artists like Etta James, Bo Diddley, and Muddy Waters! As on records with those artists, Wolf's older modes are updated here for a hipper, younger audience – backed up with a bouncing batch of electrified backings arranged by Sonny Thompson, and conducted by Thompson and Cash McCall, the latter of whom is most likely playing a bit of guitar here. Tracks are a bit longer than usual, and filled with plenty of heavy guitar bits next to the vocals – and titles include "I Smell A Rat", "Miss James", "If I Were A Bird", "She's Lookin Good", "Turn Me On", and "Message To The Young".
In 1960 bassist Charles Mingus helped to organize an alternative Newport Jazz Festival in protest of Newport's conservative and increasingly commercial booking policy. The music on this LP (which has been reissued on CD) features some of the musicians who participated in Mingus's worthy if short-lived venture. Trumpeter Roy Eldridge performs three numbers with pianist Tommy Flanagan, Mingus and drummer Jo Jones; of greatest interest is "Mysterious Blues" for it adds trombonist Jimmy Knepper and the unique altoist Eric Dolphy successfully to the group. The other selections match up drummers Max Roach and Jo Jones with Roach's quintet (featuring trumpeter Booker Little) on "Cliff Walk" and feature singer Abbey Lincoln on "Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do."
Väsen have been around for well over a decade, refining their sound and producing a series of delightful albums, first for their Swedish home market and then finding a global audience. Just how far they reach now is evident from the fact they recorded this live disc in Japan. The humor in their sound is more evident live, but the delightful interplay between nyckelharpa, fiddle, and guitar is apparent throughout, right from the opener, "Björkbergspolskan." The material largely draws from their last two discs, which is fine – those albums were two of the best of their lengthy career.