Tomás Doncker Band’s Howlin’ Wolf EP contains five tracks that will be featured in the show Diablo Love, to be performed at the NYC SummerStage Theater in Central Park in August 2013. Diablo Love will showcase songs made famous by Howlin’ Wolf, and Tomás Doncker Band’s EP contains four cover songs to pay tribute to the blues master. In addition, the album contains Doncker’s original “Shook Down,” which he co-wrote with Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa.
Doncker’s powerful, rough voice is an excellent tribute to Howlin’ Wolf. The band takes many of the singer’s classic songs and revamps them slightly with more complicated instrumentals and longer tracks, such as “Spoonful” and “Evil.” “Blind Melon Morpheus (missed the train)” is a fantastic harmonica-only track to pay homage to Howlin’ Wolf’s incredible work with the harmonica. The original track “Shook Down” is an emotional, bluesy roller coaster that is clearly influenced by the music of Howlin’ Wolf himself. Doncker takes Howlin’ Wolf’s classic “Smokestack Lightning” and makes its heavier, grittier, and more intense in both instrumentals and vocals. The EP’s closing track “Back Door Man” is a great send-off, with a dramatic and climactic guitar-wailing finale. All-in-all, Tomás Doncker Band’s Howlin’ Wolf EP is both a great tribute to an amazing and influential blues artist, as well as an excellent musical work in its own right.
The Review: 7/10
The Big Hit
– Smokestack Lightning
Review by Eileen Quaranto