- Chester Burnett 1910-1976: A black American singer, Guitarist and Harmonica player
- Renowned as a powerful singer in Chicago Electric Blues Style.
- I'm Leavin' You was recorded in 1958 in the style of 1950s Chicago Rhythm and Blues
Howlin Wolf: Instrumentation
- Vocals: Vocals lead the piece (melody)
- Lead Guitar: 'Fills in the gaps,' takes the melodic lines and fills when vocals do not lead melody
- Rhythm Guitar: The rhythm guitar helps maintain rhythm
- Piano: Largely improvised, within each bar extended chords are given to give pianist an idea of what to play
- Drums: Drums play shuffle rhythm, plays rhythmic fill when instrumentation stops the emphasis is on the weaker beats of the bar giving a sense of syncopation
- Harmonica: punctuates the texture with characteristic chords.
Howlin Wolf: Texture
- Mostly homophonic in the verses, with a strong chordal accompaniment acting as a backing for the vocals.
- There is a dialogue between Voice and Lead Guitar - typical of both Rhythm and Blues and earlier Blues styles.
- ‘Stop’ time textures feature in the first three bars of Verses 2, 3, 5 and 6. Punctuating chords on the first beat of these bars, and a triplet fill in the fourth, lead to the subdominant chord in the fifth bar of the sequence
Howlin Wolf: Tonality
- Key of G major
- Some modal inflections in 'Blue' notes in the vocal and instrumental parts (modal inflection is alterations of one or more notes within a tonal context that hint to one or more modes)
- No modulation
- Blues Modality
Howlin Wolf: Harmony
- Lots of 7ths and 9ths (Blues notes)
- A ‘standard’ twelve bar Blues sequence in G:
Bars 3-6 G7 (I)
Bars 7-8 C9 (IV)
Bars 9-10 G7 (I)
Bar 11 D7 (V)
Bar 12 C9 (IV)
Bar 13 G7
Bar 14 Db-D9 (chromatic approach to V).
- Product of improvisation than pre-composition
- Based on chords or primary chords (1, 4 and 5)
- Extended Chords (G7, C9, D7)
- Last bar prepares ear for return to the tonic in nect repitition of the sequence
- 7th Chords do not have cadential function as in 'traditional' harmony
Howlin Wolf: Melody
- The vocal melody consist of a series of 1 bar phrases, most of which begin on a D and work downwards, to various notes, e.g. tonic (Bar 3), subdominant (Bar 4).
- The frequent ‘blue’ notes (Bb and F natural) clash with the underlying diatonic harmonies.
- Pentatonic shapes predominate, mainly based on the notes F, G, Bb, C, and D.
- Guitar lines are more complex, with use of the Blues scale, including the flattened fifth (D flat), as well as the third and seventh (Bb and F natural).
- Much dialogue between the Vocal and Lead guitar parts.
- Frequent slides and pitch bends in both guitar and Vocal parts.
- Use of few two note and three note melisma's
- Descending phrases
- Blues Scales
Howlin Wolf: Rhythm
- Driving 4/4 time, but with a ‘shuffle’ rhythm (swung rhythm).
- Semiquaver grouping ending with Scotch snap (Bar 21).
- Snare drum ‘backbeats’ on beats 2 and 4.
- Syncopation at times, e.g. bar 2.
Howlin Wolf: Structure
Six choruses of a standard 12 bar blues, to which is added a short intro and a repeat and fade (Coda)
- B1-2: Introduction - Guitar Break
- B3-14: Verse 1 - Vocals, Rhythm and Lead Guitar with piano improvisation
- B14-26: Verse 2 - 'Stop' time at opening
- B26-38: Verse 3 - 'Stop' time at opening
- B39-50: Guitar Solo - Guitar, wordless vocals and Harmonic, while rest of band continue in shuffle rhythm
- (B50-62) 14-26: Verse 5 - 'Stop' time at opening
- (B62-74) 26-36: Verse 6 - 'Stop' time at opening
- B51-End: Coda - Improvised vocal lines over guitar riff
(Verse, Stop Chorus, Solo, Repeat, Coda)
Howlin Wolf: Performance Techniques
- Vocal Part likes mostly within middle range, spanning for the most part a mjore sixth (F-D)
- Syllabic style
- Frequent slide/bend and half-spoken inflections - typical of blues style
- Harmonica punctuates texture with characteristic chords
- The Lead Guitar opens the song with a typical Blues introductory figure. It then works in dialogue with the voice with a combination of monophonic ‘licks’ based on the Blues scale, and double–stopped thirds, high in its register.
- In its solo (verse 4), it also plays some three note chords, both root and first inversion.
- Slides and bends are used quite frequently in the Lead guitar part.