mystery polish man
A number of years back a friend played me a cassette tape of tracks by a guy called Little Howling Wolf, from the sound, it seemed to be an unsettling African-American singer taking his Blind Wille-slide blues through a voodoo run-down, utterly wonderous and not of the normal world. I first thought it was Jessie Sanders, Chicago's Little Howlin' Wolf, who I hadn't heard at the time. My pal said it was actually a Polish street musician from Chicago. He was/is(?). Outside of the guitar, he wields some blasting sax, and Dr. John-tempered Orleans vibe. Searching for any recordings or info dug up not much at the time, though musn't gone deep enough.
Next I heard of the Wolf was in 2002/3 via Nautical Almanac, who ended up doing a show(s) with him and are thankfully in the throws of releasing his entire discography on their Heresee label. Vol. 1 is out now. A LP under the name Shadow Drifter (on DeStijl) was talked about a few yrs back, but don't think it ever surfaced. Here's what Heresee has to say:
James Pobiega, a 6'9" Polish-derived man from Chicago's South Side, performed heavily in bars and and to a greater extent on the street of his home turf during the late 70s through the mid 80s under the name Little Howlin Wolf. During that time, self-released 32 45s (that weknow of) and two LPs (compiled from the 7"s) titled The Guardian and The Cool Truth. The LPs show a unique and visionary take on emotive, raw, dissolved blues featuring Wolf on every instrument he could lay his hands on with a wrenching souldfulness and commanding fire-brained intensity to match Albert Ayler. The 45s, though, are where Wolf really stretched out, taking his music to its furthest reaches including stabs at Calypso, gypsy songs, Country-Western and children's songs. This is the first of three volumes of Wolf's complete 7" output (those not compiled on the two scarce and desirable LPs) which we are releasing in collaboration with the True Vine Record Store (Baltimore)
All that is left is to listen...
Little Howling Wolf - Baby Farina
Little Howling Wolf - Oul Nei Piesec; Ostatni Morzu
Little Howling Wolf - E.T. Blues