In the mid '60s the Chicago based label Vee Jay put out a Hooker LP entitled 'Is he the world's greatest blues singer?', well, it is safe to say now that Hooker is certainly a prime contender. Despite being labelled as an anachronism. Mr. Hooker has proved to be with B.B. King the most successful of all blues artists. A big seller to the black audiences of the late '40s/early '50s and up today, an international celebrity.
This four-disc box from London's JSP Records collects an astounding 100 songs recorded by John Lee Hooker in Detroit from the years 1948 to 1952, including his first two sides ever, the signature tunes "Boogie Chillen" and "Sally Mae." Most of the tracks here are done solo, with Hooker's ever-present foot-stomping, although a few feature other musicians on loose-limbed blues boogies. Since Hooker never significantly altered his style during his long career, these first recordings set the stage for all that came after, and he arguably never sounded fresher or better. Four discs worth of this throwback Mississippi bluesman will be severe overkill for casual listeners, but diehard Hooker fans will find this box set absolutely essential.
Hooker was already being hailed as a living legend in the '60s, but by the time of this 1986 release he was a larger-than-life figure, his iconic stature unquestioned. From his earliest collaborations with Canned Heat and on through the '70s and '80s, the rock world never got tired of trying to endear Hooker to a crossover audience. JEALOUS is an attempt to adapt Hooker's lonesome blues to full-band arrangements. Unlike his band recordings of the '50s, though, there's a decided rock edge to his accompaniment here, providing a sharp contrast to the down-home, earthy sound of Hooker's voice and guitar. Organ, electric guitar, and a forceful rhythm section baked in reverb back Hooker on JEALOUS. Instead of overpowering Hooker, though, these new arrangements place the bluesman on a sonic pedestal, from which he sounds like the voice of God dispensing wisdom through the blues.
In 1959, John Lee Hooker signed a one-off deal with the Riverside label to record an acoustic session of the country blues. It was a key change from his earlier recordings, most of which had featured Hooker on an electric guitar with his trademark reverb and stomping foot. Folk purists of the day were delighted with COUNTRY BLUES, believing Hooker had returned to his roots, leaving the "glitzy commercialism" of R&B behind. But some Hooker fans considered COUNTRY BLUES a "betrayal" of his true sound. The truth is probably somewhere in-between. Remember, John Lee Hooker is always John Lee Hooker, regardless of the format. If you like Hooker, or acoustic blues, buy this album. It is an intimate session featuring standards like "How Long", "Bottle Up and Go", as well as Hooker's first recorded take on "Tupelo", one of his all-time classics.
This release presents one of John Lee Hooker's finest albums, The Big Soul of John Lee Hooker. It was recorded in 1962 and released by Vee-Jay Records. Here the bluesman explores the soul and R&B sounds of the early ‘60s, while maintaining the essence of his own boogieblues style. His gritty voice is as heavily emotive and unshakable as ever on these recordings. Hooker is backed by the seed of one of the most successful studio bands of all time, which would later be known as The Funk Brothers (the Motown studio band), as well as by a wonderful female backing vocal group. In addition to the original masterpiece, this remastered collector's edition also contains 10 bonus tracks from the same period, and constitutes one of the peaks of John Lee Hooker's incomparable musical legacy.
Two classic Hooker LPs, all digitally re-mastered, 22 solid slabs of dark, leathery, brooding nostalgia. This is the electric blues at its very roots. If there’s still anyone out there reading this magazine who hasn’t at least one Hooker album in their collection, then you’re still a long way from qualifying as a blues aficionado. So this is a good place to start. This stripped-bare, one man and a growling electric guitar (on most tracks) music is the stuff those guys who fled the south for the auto production lines in the north used to listen to.
In 1959, John Lee Hooker signed a one-off deal with the Riverside label to record an acoustic session of the country blues. It was a key change from his earlier recordings, most of which had featured Hooker on an electric guitar with his trademark reverb and stomping foot. Folk purists of the day were delighted with COUNTRY BLUES, believing Hooker had returned to his roots, leaving the "glitzy commercialism" of R&B behind. But some Hooker fans considered COUNTRY BLUES a "betrayal" of his true sound.
The album features collaborations with Bonnie Raitt, Charlie Musselwhite, Robert Cray, Canned Heat, George Thorogood, Los Lobos and Carlos Santana, among others. The Healer peaked at number 62 on the Billboard 200 and "I'm in the Mood" won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Performance.