a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History

Little Red Rooster

Music/Lyrics: Willie Dixon

Vocals: Sydney Ellis

Original Artist: Howlin' Wolf

Original Album: The Rocking Chair Album (1962)

Debut: 1997-02-25

Historian: Kazimierz O. Wrzeszczynski

Last Update: 2016-02-10

Howlin' Wolf - “Little Red Rooster”

This barnyard blues song – written by Willie Dixon and made famous by Howlin’ Wolf’s amazing vocal rendition – usually features a strong slide guitar whenever performed live. Phish’s single performance of this song on 2/25/97 at Incognito in Munich, Germany doesn’t contain a slide guitar, but features the strong lead vocals of Sydney Ellis, an American-born blues singer who lives in Germany and tours regularly throughout Europe. Phish and Ellis performed a standard blues rendering of “Red Rooster,” highlighted by a nice bluesy piano solo from Page.

The slide guitarist in the jamband world with whom “Little Red Rooster” is most closely associated is of course Bob Weir, as it was a staple of Grateful Dead performances. Trey took his lead licks on the song during Fare Thee Well’s 7/4/15 performance at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

Fare Thee Well - “Little Red Rooster” – 7/4/15, Chicago, IL. Video by LazyLightning55a.

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