Omar Dykes: Runnin’ With The Wolf

Howlers frontman pays his respects to Howlin’ Wolf.

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Not many artists would dare attempt an album of songs defined by the late blues behemoth Howlin’ Wolf. Well, Omar Dykes (of Austin’s Omar & The Howlers fame) not only had the cojones to have a punt, but he’s also emerged from the escapade without a scratch.

Dykes has drawn comparisons to the mighty Wolf throughout his career and you can hear that shared gravel in his throaty delivery right from the title track – a direct homage to Howlin’ Wolf and the only original on the record.

To be fair, Dykes doesn’t have to sell the Wolf classics (The Red Rooster, Spoonful, Smokestack Lightning, Wang Dang Doodle et al) too hard. Committed blues-heads will own the original versions of these songs. It’s the law. That said, Dykes delivers each track with passion and respect (a throbbing Back Door Man presenting itself as exhibit A), blowing the dust off these precious blues artefacts.

Ed Mitchell was the Editor of The Blues Magazine from 2012-16, and a contributor to Classic Rock and Louder. He died in October 2022, aged 52. A one-time Reviews Editor on Total Guitar magazine from 2003, his guitar-modding column, Ed’s Shed, appeared in print on both sides of the Atlantic (in both Total Guitar and Guitar World magazines), and he wrote stories for Classic Rock and Guitarist. Between them, the websites Louder, MusicRadar and Guitar World host over 400 of his articles – among them interviews with Billy Gibbons, Paul Weller, Brian Setzer, profiles on Roy Buchanan, Duane Allman and Peter Green, a joint interview with Jimmy Page and Jack White, and dozens of guitar reviews – and that’s just the ones that made it online.