In our final installment, we reveal blues expert Bob Eagle’s personal all-time favorite live performance….
#1) The Howlin’ Wolf was, by a long stretch, the best performer I’ve ever seen. It was in 1972, only a few years before his death. It was April Fool’s Day 1972 and he was playing on the West Side for his wife Lilly’s birthday. He was hyped-up, to say the least. So downhome, so damned threatening, so sexy (swinging the mike chord around like a gigantic penile extension). For some reason, I recall the covers that he brought up to date — “Country Sugar Mama,” etc. Fortunately I had met Hubert Sumlin that morning, at Letha Jones’ house (Johnnie’s widow), and Hubert kindly introduced me to The Man. Strangely, Hubert was not doing his patented string bending at that time — maybe he wanted the spotlight to fall unequivocally on The Wolf. The man was kind enough to buy this young fan a whiskey and spend a few minutes talking to him. A class act. Unforgettable. And now you know why.