Sunday, December 16, 2007

Number 530 - John Lee Hooker


Number 530

John Lee Hooker

"The Healer"

(1989)

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Genre:Blues
The picture on left by *Seduce by the Sun* would make a terrific poster, don't you think? Some very talented people @ www.deviantart.com and i envy everyone i feature on this site, if only i was half as good. Now i don't know if John Lee Hooker was into the ole voodoo black magic & I'm not suggesting he was, but I've always slightly associated the Blues & the New Orleans/Deep South scene together. What i would give to walk around St Louis cemetery, it looks absolutely fascinating (I'd rather walk on it than be underneath it). FYI John Lee Hooker is buried in a San Fransisco cemetery (go figure, he was born in Mississippi) click here for Google Airways to take you there.
22.08.17 to 21.07.01
He was beloved worldwide as the king of the endless boogie, a genuine blues superstar whose droning, hypnotic one-chord grooves were at once both ultra-primitive and timeless. But John Lee Hooker recorded in a great many more styles than that over a career that stretched across more than half a century. "The Hook" was a Mississippi native who became the top gent on the Detroit blues circuit in the years following World War II. The seeds for his eerily mournful guitar sound were planted by his stepfather, Will Moore, while Hooker was in his teens. Hooker had been singing spirituals before that, but the blues took hold and simply wouldn't let go. Overnight visitors left their mark on the youth, too: legends like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, and Blind Blake, who all knew Moore.
smokin'
Hooker heard Memphis calling while he was still in his teens, but he couldn't gain much of a foothold there. So he relocated to Cincinnati for a seven-year stretch before making the big move to the Motor City in 1943. Jobs were plentiful, but Hooker drifted away from day gigs in favor of playing his unique free-form brand of blues. A burgeoning club scene along Hastings Street didn't hurt his chances any. In 1948, the aspiring bluesman hooked up with entrepreneur Bernie Besman, who helped him hammer out his solo debut sides, "Sally Mae" and its seminal flip, "Boogie Chillen." This was blues as primitive as anything then on the market; Hooker's dark, ruminative vocals were backed only by his own ringing, heavily amplified guitar and insistently pounding foot. Their efforts were quickly rewarded. Los Angeles-based Modern Records issued the sides and "Boogie Chillen" -- a colorful, unique travelogue of Detroit's blues scene -- made an improbable jaunt to the very peak of the R&B charts.
early J Lee Hooker
Modern released several more major hits by "the Boogie Man" after that: "Hobo Blues" and its raw-as-an-open wound flip, "Hoogie Boogie"; "Crawling King Snake Blues" (all three 1949 smashes); and the unusual 1951 chart-topper "I'm in the Mood," where Hooker overdubbed his voice three times in a crude early attempt at multi-tracking. But Hooker never, ever let something as meaningless as a contract stop him for making recordings for other labels. His early catalog is stretched across a road map of diskeries so complex that it's nearly impossible to fully comprehend (a vast array of recording aliases don't make things any easier). Along with Modern, Hooker recorded for King (as the geographically challenged Texas Slim), Regent (as Delta John, a far more accurate handle), Savoy (as the wonderfully surreal Birmingham Sam & His Magic Guitar), Danceland (as the downright delicious Little Pork Chops), Staff (as Johnny Williams), Sensation (for whom he scored a national hit in 1950 with "Huckle Up, Baby"), Gotham, Regal, Swing Time, Federal, Gone (as John Lee Booker), Chess, Acorn (as the Boogie Man), Chance, DeLuxe (as Johnny Lee), JVB, Chart, and Specialty; before finally settling down at Vee-Jay in 1955 under his own name. Hooker became the point man for the growing Detroit blues scene during this incredibly prolific period, recruiting guitarist Eddie Kirkland as his frequent duet partner while still recording for Modern.
bye planet :(
Vee-Jay presented Hooker in quite an array of settings during the early '60s. His grinding, tough blues "No Shoes" proved a surprisingly sizable hit in 1960, while the storming "Boom Boom," his top seller for the firm in 1962 (it even cracked the pop airwaves), was an infectious R&B dance number benefiting from the reported presence of some of Motown's house musicians. But there were also acoustic outings aimed squarely at the blossoming folk-blues crowd, as well as some attempts at up-to-date R&B that featured highly intrusive female background vocals (allegedly by the Vandellas) and utterly unyielding structures that hemmed Hooker in unmercifully. British blues bands such as the Animals and Yardbirds idolized Hooker during the early '60s; Eric Burdon's boys cut a credible 1964 cover of "Boom Boom" that outsold Hooker's original on the American pop charts. Hooker visited Europe in 1962 under the auspices of the first American Folk Blues Festival, leaving behind the popular waxings "Let's Make It" and "Shake It Baby" for foreign consumption.
mr lucky
Back home, Hooker cranked out gems for Vee-Jay through 1964 ("Big Legs, Tight Skirt," one of his last offerings on the logo, was also one of his best), before undergoing another extended round of label-hopping (except this time, he was waxing whole LPs instead of scattered 78s). Verve-Folkways, Impulse, Chess, and BluesWay all enticed him into recording for them in 1965-1966 alone! His reputation among hip rock cognoscenti in the States and abroad was growing exponentially, especially after he teamed up with blues-rockers Canned Heat for the massively selling album Hooker 'n' Heat in 1970. Eventually, though, the endless boogie formula grew incredibly stagnant. Much of Hooker's 1970s output found him laying back while plodding rock-rooted rhythm sections assumed much of the work load. A cameo in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers was welcome, if far too short.
ima comtemplatin' brother
But Hooker wasn't through; not by a long shot. With the expert help of slide guitarist extraordinaire/producer Roy Rogers, the Hook waxed The Healer, an album that marked the first of his guest star-loaded albums (Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, and Robert Cray were among the luminaries to cameo on the disc, which picked up a Grammy). Major labels were just beginning to take notice of the growing demand for blues records, and Pointblank snapped Hooker up, releasing Mr. Lucky (this time teaming Hooker with everyone from Albert Collins and John Hammond to Van Morrison and Keith Richards). Once again, Hooker was resting on his laurels by allowing his guests to wrest much of the spotlight away from him on his own album, but by then, he'd earned it. Another Pointblank set, Boom Boom, soon followed.
Count em ... 5 decades
Happily, Hooker enjoyed the good life throughout the '90s. He spent much of his time in semi-retirement, splitting his relaxation time between several houses acquired up and down the California coast. When the right offer came along, though, he took it, including an amusing TV commercial for Pepsi. He also kept recording, releasing such star-studded efforts as 1995's Chill Out and 1997's Don't Look Back. All this helped him retain his status as a living legend, and he remained an American musical icon; and his stature wasn't diminished upon his death from natural causes on June 21, 2001. ~ [Bill Dahl, All Music Guide]
Roll Call.....
For Canned Heat see Number 937
For Blues Brothers see Number 875
For Santana see Number 781
For Van Morrison see Number 987
For Keith Richards see Number 767 & Number 689
What did Rolling Stone think about JL Hooker?
Take pure John Lee Hooker, add strong doses of Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray, Canned Heat, Los Lobos and George Thorogood (all of whom appear on The Healer), and what do you get? Brilliant, 100-proof blues, that's what. One of the archetypal postwar Delta-born urban bluesmen, John Lee Hooker has been dispensing his own brand of corrosive blues for more than forty years, influencing the Rolling Stones, the Animals, Bob Dylan, the Doors, Van Morrison and countless others. Possessed of a harsh, primal power, his inimitable deep, dark vocals evoke sex, violence, defiant joy and doomed love in harmonically simple songs driven by rhythmic electric guitar and the clanging, open-tuned chords and foot tapping characteristic of country blues.
On The Healer, Hooker has concocted big, bad medicine. The opening title cut, performed with Santana, is sheer spirit-invoking incantation. Then Hooker enters the realm of the senses, covering his 1951 million seller "I'm in the Mood" in a slow bump-and-grind duet with Bonnie Raitt. As John Lee states his need, Raitt, at her seductive best, sidles up to and curls around each phrase in a sassy moan and response. Song after song lands its ideal groove as Hooker guides his players through an earthy blues cycle that chronicles the rites of carnal knowledge – from the don't-do-me-wrong pleas of "Baby Lee," spiked with Cray's trenchant guitar, to the somber, contemptuous stomp of "Sally Mae," whammied with Thorogood's slash 'n' trash slide.
Producer-guitarist Roy Rogers of the Delta Rhythm Kings faithfully captures the intimate banter and live-in-the-barroom, Fender-tube-amp quality of authentic blues. But the spirit that animates this album is the ageless voice of John Lee Hooker and his boogie-man blues. He has conjured up a renewed world blues with the canniness of the hoodoo healers and root doctors who first gave birth to the Delta blues. (RS 563)
For Bob Dylan see Number 929 & Number 841
For the Doors see Number 851, Number 746 & Number 729
Artist Fact File
Name:John Lee Hooker..............Related to³:Canned Heat
Yrs Active:1948 to 2001...........Site:www.johnleehooker.com
Best Song¹:Boogie Chillen.........#1fan:www.web.telia.com
Best Album²:Plays & Sings Blues...Grammy Awards:2
Albums Sold:Unknown...............Next best thing:John Lee Hooker Jnr
¹Number of downloads WINMX ²Artistdirect choice ³Associated acts or collaborations
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (Negatory Batman) and the Album ranked at Number 375
This song has a crowbarred rating of 74.3 out of 108 pts

Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z
By The Year 1955 to 2005:
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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

endless boogie. there is no boogie in this man just pure blues.

10:54 pm  
Blogger crowbarred said...

Boom Boom

11:28 pm  

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