Little Red Rooster
Music/Lyrics: Willie Dixon
Vocals: Sydney Ellis
Original Artist: Howlin' Wolf
Original Album: The Rocking Chair Album (1962)
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.