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Peter Wolf: Honky-Tonk 'Midnight Souvenirs'
In the 1970s, the J. Geils Band carved out a reputation as one of the wildest party bands out there. Its frontman never abandoned his rootsy musical syncretism. Peter Wolf has a new solo album, conceived at the juncture of country and R&B. All Things Considered Play

In the 1970s, the J. Geils Band carved out a reputation as one of the wildest party bands out there.

Its lead singer, Peter Wolf, worked the crowd like a maestro. At a time when disco was the only dance in town, the J. Geils Band revived an R&B-influenced brand of rock.

But by 1981, the band was going in a different, poppier direction. Its single "Centerfold" stayed atop the charts for six weeks, and it shifted the band's focus away from roots music for good.

Wolf didn't last much longer; he was out of the band two years later.

Now well into his solo career, he's recently released a new album. Wolf spoke to guest host Linda Wertheimer about Midnight Souvenirs, which reflects considerable country music influences.

"Growing up in the era that I did, when the first generation of rock 'n' rollers were coming out ... there was a fusion of rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll that was very profound," he says. "And I think that the R&B and blues artists always listened to the Grand Ole Opry. And the Grand Ole Opry artists always listened to Sonny Boy Williamson on the King Biscuit [Flower] Hour. And I think it was real, blue-collar music — and I don't really see the difference between a juke joint and a honky-tonk." Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.