Bursting with energy from a strutting pulse, Hubert Sumlin’s zinging guitar and Howlin’ Wolf’s lupine gnarl, ‘Killing Floor’ was one of Wolf’s most recognizable songs. It has long been a staple among many blues bands and ranks as one of Wolf’s most often-covered songs, by both blues and rock acts. Yet, as was the case with a number of other Wolf favorites, it was not a hit single on either the Billboard or Cash Box trade magazine charts. While ‘killing floor’ was a term for the slaughterhouse floor where animals were killed, in Wolf’s song he rues not quitting the woman who has him down so low.

Howlin’ Wolf, vocal with Arnold Rogers, tenor sax; Donald Hankins, baritone sax; Lafayette Leake, piano; Hubert Sumlin, Buddy Guy, guitars; Andrew Palmer, bass; Sam Lay, drums. Recorded August 1964, Chicago. Released as Chess 1923 (45 rpm single).

Discographical details from The Blues Discography 1943-1970.