Canned Heat rose to fame because their knowledge and love of blues music was both wide and deep. Emerging in 1966, Canned Heat was founded by blues historians and record collectors Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and Bob “The Bear” Hite. Hite took the name “Canned Heat” from a 1928 recording by Tommy Johnson. They were joined by Henry “The Sunflower” Vestine, another ardent record collector who was a former member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention. Rounding out the band in 1967 were Larry “The Mole” Taylor on bass, an experienced session musician who had played with Jerry Lee Lewis and The Monkees and Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra on drums who had played in two of the biggest Latin American bands, Los Sinners and Los Hooligans.
Canned Heat's 1978 release, Human Condition, was an important one in the band's overall discography, as it was the last studio effort to feature original singer Bob Hite fronting the band (Hite would pass away in 1981). In 2006, the album was expanded with a pair of live tracks from 1985 and retitled Human Condition Revisited, and was packaged as a double disc that also featured the overlooked 1981 solo effort by Canned Heat guitarist Henry Vestine, I Used to Be Mad! (But Now I'm Half Crazy).
This is a follow up release of additional material from the May 1994 concerts at the Village Vanguard by the 20-something piano sensation, the first volume having been released in 1995 to wide attention. Onishi is a master of the post-bop piano, playing with speed and command. She is also characterized by a heavy-handed, propulsive approach.
I cannot for the life of me find a thing wrong or amiss with this cd. I've been playing it for years and always love it. I know all about Canned Heat's tragic and illustrious past, and I'm not knocking those old records (most of them were great); but, it should be said by someone - the Canned Heat albums beginning with "Reheated" straight to the present - leave the old ones in the dust. Leaving behind the excessive reverence for the past (if you can, and you know who you are), there's one thing that has never changed about this band.
A genre that influenced a variety of artists from Shaking Stevens to Robert Plant this is a music of the highest order. Jump, jive, jazz, blues… Stop analysing and start enjoying this treasure trove of influential tracks from American music s golden age. You may not have heard some of it before, but you can bet your heroes have!