Chicago street musician, bluesman, and actor, Little Howlin' Wolf, was born James R. Pobiega, Aug. 23, 1950. Of Polish decent, the grandson of a gravedigger and "moonshiner", and son of a milkman, Pobiega grew up in the working class neighborhood of Justice, IL, a town located on the southwest outskirts of Chicago.
Due to his large stature, and tenacity on the football field at Argo High,he quickly earned the nickname, "Beowulf", which was later shortened to "Wolf". After high school, he briefly attended The Goodman Theatre in Chicago, IL., and although quite successful, he would soon realize that music was his calling. A self-taught musician, Wolf would gather up his guitar, harp, and saxophone, and hit the streets of Chicago, performing his original blues and jazz compositions, wherever and anywhere he could. Given his voice was filled with a natural booming, yet gravelly, soulful, andbluesy sound, he was given the moniker, Little Howlin' Wolf, in respect tofellow bluesman and predecessor, Howlin' Wolf. A name he was honored to receive, and still embraces to this day.