Hooker 'n Heat is a double album released by blues legend John Lee Hooker and blues-rock band Canned Heat in early 1971. It was the last studio album to feature harmonica player, guitarist and songwriter Alan Wilson, who died in September 1970 from a drug overdose. The photo on the album cover was taken after Wilson's death, but his picture can be seen in a frame on the wall behind John Lee Hooker. Guitarist Henry Vestine was also missing from the photo session. The person standing in front of the window, filling in for Henry, is the band's manager, Skip Taylor. Careful examination of the photo reveals that Henry's face was later added by the art department. It was the first of Hooker's albums to chart, reaching number 78 in the Billboard charts.
When this two-LP set was initially released in January 1971, Canned Heat was back to its R&B roots, sporting slightly revised personnel. In the spring of the previous year, Larry "The Mole" Taylor (bass) and Harvey Mandel (guitar) simultaneously accepted invitations to join John Mayall's concurrent incarnation of the Bluesbreakers…
This 15-track single-disc collection was culled from Canned Heat (1967), Boogie With Canned Heat (1968), Living the Blues (1968), Hallelujah (1969), and Future Blues (1970). Arguably, Canned Heat Cookbook (1969) – a hits package in its own right – could be lumped in since it was the first full-length platter with "Going Up the Country," which was initially only issued on a 45-rpm single. During this era, the Heat was inhabited by Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson (guitar/vocals), Larry "The Mole" Taylor (bass), Henry "Sunflower" Vestine (guitar), and Bob "The Bear" Hite (vocals). Frank Cook (drums) contributed to the band's self-titled debut prior to being replaced by Aldolfo "Fito" de la Parra (drums)…
Vee Jay's 1964 album John Lee Hooker on Campus is titled to sound like a live recording but it isn't. As part of the Collectables Vee Jay reissue campaign, these 12 tracks originally tried to capitalize on Hooker's emergence on the coffeehouse/college tours he was involved in at the time. This is an electric album that contains excellent material from Hooker, even though the occasional background singers get in the way, attempting to modernize his gritty blues with a smoother soul sound. All of the Vee Jay reissues of John Lee Hooker material are worth having and are budget priced as a bonus.
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.
John Lee Hooker is one of the foremost blues performers of the postwar period. He is in actuality a Mississippi country bluesman and his music has always been firmly grounded in the traditional blues of his native state. He has remained true to its fundamental principles throughout a professional career of more than five decades.
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.