No JOHN LEE HOOKER thread? Ever? Really??

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Well, here it is. S&D. Let's go!

If Assholes Could Fly This Place Would Be An Airport, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 03:00 (twelve years ago) link

For a two-record supersession with guest stars like Steve Miller, Endless Boogie on ABC is surprisingly listenable. Contains his antidrug eulogy for Jimi & Janis, "Kick Hit 4 Hit Kix U."

Rev. Hoodoo, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 03:10 (twelve years ago) link

Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang. My favorite blues musician, full stop. I could listen to him read the weather report.

Billy Pilgrim, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 03:11 (twelve years ago) link

Also seek out 1974's Free Beer & Chicken, his answer to Electric Mud, only funkier.

Rev. Hoodoo, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 03:20 (twelve years ago) link

o damn do want

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 03:25 (twelve years ago) link

And then there are the obvious, no-shit classics (i.e., anything before 1966 or so, before he had much of a white audience) (even though "Boom Boom" was a minor pop hit in 1966).

Rev. Hoodoo, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 03:30 (twelve years ago) link

(ooh, mistake - "Boom Boom" was a minor pop hit for Hooker in 1962, sorry)

Rev. Hoodoo, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 03:31 (twelve years ago) link

two months pass...

Revive! Can anyone recommend some Hooker LPs that are just him, as in, just guitar and vocals? I'm thinking of stuff like "My First Wife Left Me" and "Wednesday Evening Blues," where you can actually hear the tubes in the amps crackling and Hooker's vocals are intimate and close mic'd and eerie as all get out. Going shopping Monday, this is what I'm looking for first. Help?

If Assholes Could Fly This Place Would Be An Airport, Saturday, 12 April 2008 20:35 (twelve years ago) link

I'd recommend 2-disc "The Complete Chess Recordings" from '98 -- fits your description. Very spooky.

Jake Brown, Saturday, 12 April 2008 20:45 (twelve years ago) link

"Can anyone recommend some Hooker LPs that are just him, as in, just guitar and vocals? "

"The Folk Lore of John Lee Hooker" is pretty much just him and guitar. It is a pretty kick ass record and has plenty of those slow deathly blues including 'When My First Wife Left Me' and 'Tupelo'. The latter of which pretty much half inventing some of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds' early sound.

A bunch of his early sides are just him like the original Boogie Chillen', but when you add in John Lee's stompin' foot, he almost sounds like a band.

The thing with John Lee Hooker is that he recorded for so many labels, his stuff is really spread out. It isn't like Howlin' Wolf or Muddy Waters where the primo stuff was all on the same label. I've found you have to kind of pair together some stuff to get a big overview of Hooker. The Rhino collections have some of the 40s stuff and the 60s stuff, but not the mid 50s Vee Jay singles a few of which are some his most marquee recordings.

For his singles, I've got the 2CD Rhino collection, a good British compilation on the Metro label called "The Definitive John Lee Hooker" which has the Vee Jay recordings and a comp on MCA covering some of the ABC and Chess recordings. Beyond this I got that Folklore record, which has more acoustic stuff and the Hooker 'n Heat record, which is pretty fun and Live at Soledad Prison/Cafe Au Go Go. It is all good.

earlnash, Saturday, 12 April 2008 23:08 (twelve years ago) link

Those are both good suggestions. I think I'll buy that Chess comp. But I'm also looking for the electric guitar stuff...I'm assuming there was a whole period of stuff like this?

Also - I always heard that JLH recorded under various pseudonyms for other labels - anyone know what these pseudonyms were and for what labels?

If Assholes Could Fly This Place Would Be An Airport, Saturday, 12 April 2008 23:47 (twelve years ago) link

The Hall Of Fame 5 disc set I have is great. All stuff from the '50s and '60s, I prefer it greatly to his later stuff.

I picked it up new for $25 bucks, I don't know if this is the going price, though.

RabiesAngentleman, Sunday, 13 April 2008 01:11 (twelve years ago) link

Sorry, disc 1-3 cover 1948-49, 4 covers '50-52, and it doesn't tell me what's on 5 but Hooker is accompanied by a drummer and another guitar player and the recordings have a lot more fidelity. The rest he's all solo.

Something about this box has always struck me as sketchy.

RabiesAngentleman, Monday, 14 April 2008 06:59 (twelve years ago) link

five years pass...

this Free Chicken and Beer album is pretty hilariously good

Ayn Rand Akbar (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 7 November 2013 22:40 (seven years ago) link

the proper box is endless

j., Thursday, 7 November 2013 22:45 (seven years ago) link

I love this kind of shit, when old grimy blues guys dabble in funk (see also Electric Mud, Bo Diddley's 70s records, Howlin Wolf Doesn't Like His New Album)

Ayn Rand Akbar (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 8 November 2013 18:30 (seven years ago) link

Freddie King's "Goin' Down" another good example

Ayn Rand Akbar (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 8 November 2013 18:30 (seven years ago) link

Free Beer And Chicken is great. The only album I own by the man. What is the go to Bo Diddley album in this context?

Doran, Friday, 8 November 2013 19:20 (seven years ago) link

there's three he cut for Chess in the early 70s that are all in this vein - Black Gladiator, Another Dimension, and Where it All Began. I have a comp that collects tracks from all three but haven't heard any of them in full. Would probably go with Light in the Attic's reissue of Black Gladiator, which looks pretty nice.

a sample:

Ayn Rand Akbar (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 8 November 2013 19:27 (seven years ago) link

Cool. Thanks.

Doran, Friday, 8 November 2013 19:33 (seven years ago) link

three months pass...

John Lee Hooker - vocals, guitar
Barry Galbraith - guitar
Milt Hinton - bass
Panama Francis - drums
William Wells - trombone on "Money"
Billy Preston - piano on "It Serves You Right to Suffer"

j., Sunday, 23 February 2014 03:58 (six years ago) link

four years pass...

I'd like to renew the request above: which recordings feature him solo on (dark & eerie) electric guitar? For example, I have in mind some of what he has on The Hot Spot soundtrack.

Pataphysician, Tuesday, 25 September 2018 17:18 (two years ago) link

dunno but hooker N heat is one of the best barnstorming records ever

sweetheart of the Neo Geo (Ross), Tuesday, 25 September 2018 17:45 (two years ago) link

I will reiterate that It Serves You Right to Suffer (in addition to being one of the greatest blues album titles ever) is fantastic

nothing springs to mind about strictly solo stuff though, sorry. his discography is such a mess mostly what I have is stuff from various comps.

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 25 September 2018 18:00 (two years ago) link

John Lee Hooker: Boom boom boom boom (guitar riff)
me: hm pretty good. What else you got
John Lee Hooker: Hau hau hau hau
me: Fuck this .

— wint (@dril) May 24, 2018

ciderpress, Tuesday, 25 September 2018 18:07 (two years ago) link

I have not heard this whole album but in response to the thread-revive question

Οὖτις, Monday, 8 October 2018 20:00 (two years ago) link

Two more versions of that same song, the second one contemporaneous with The Hot Spot (and with Booker T. on organ).

Pesto Mindset (Eazy), Monday, 8 October 2018 20:12 (two years ago) link

Wow, that Free Beer and Chicken album is amazing. There's one track with Joe Cocker on guest vocals, and Sam Rivers on flute!

grawlix (unperson), Monday, 8 October 2018 20:19 (two years ago) link

I know right? it's all over the place

Οὖτις, Monday, 8 October 2018 20:25 (two years ago) link

I love It Serves You Right to Suffer so much

Fedora Dostoyevsky (man alive), Monday, 8 October 2018 20:52 (two years ago) link

cosign, that's a bad ass record

he really goes in on the one chord thing, it's kinda meditative, droney, there's something really cool about it too, a lot of the moody stuff on ISYRTS reminds me of Dylan's "Highlands"

funny when he plays "Money" I could have sworn that song had more chord changes

niels, Thursday, 11 October 2018 16:59 (two years ago) link

I remember reading years and years ago that early in his career Hooker had a real problem finding a drummer, because nobody could lock in with his idiosyncratic rhythm; that's why a lot of his records have him just stomping on a wooden box as percussion.

grawlix (unperson), Thursday, 11 October 2018 17:22 (two years ago) link

funny when he plays "Money" I could have sworn that song had more chord changes

obviously what the song required was less chords and more trombone solos

Οὖτις, Thursday, 11 October 2018 19:17 (two years ago) link

haha, indeed

niels, Friday, 12 October 2018 06:19 (two years ago) link

Got to see him in the late 80s where a white guitar player was almost noodling through most of the set. & I don't think he was playing much guitar himself. Which sounds like sacrilege really.

Stevolende, Friday, 12 October 2018 16:03 (two years ago) link

I'd like to renew the request above: which recordings feature him solo on (dark & eerie) electric guitar? For example, I have in mind some of what he has on The Hot Spot soundtrack.

― Pataphysician, Tuesday, September 25, 2018 12:18 PM (three weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i picked up a record today with six cuts of just solo electric JLH:

apparently all six of those tracks come from a single chicago recording date on january 4, 1961. i'm trying to find out if there's more from that session and, if so, whether anybody ever put it all on the same disc.

(the notes on the discogs page are incorrect btw.)

budo jeru, Sunday, 21 October 2018 21:33 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

It's not exactly solo, but I really like the album "Don't Turn Me From Your Door" which is raw and basic. It combines 6 songs from 1953 with 6 songs from 1961.

I hadn't noticed it initially myself, but I came across a passing remark that you could see the influence of this album on Hendrix's '"Voodoo Chile", and it's true I think.

Luna Schlosser, Sunday, 12 July 2020 22:48 (six months ago) link

Don’t think I have heard that album. Will check it out

curmudgeon, Monday, 13 July 2020 17:24 (six months ago) link

I had that one a long time ago - late '80s, early '90s - and I remember liking it quite a bit because the 1961 tracks were solo electric guitar, not acoustic, and Hooker's playing was really stark and out. It's on Spotify.

but also fuck you (unperson), Monday, 13 July 2020 17:27 (six months ago) link

This was one of the tracks that melted my brain (I was 18, 19 at the time):

but also fuck you (unperson), Monday, 13 July 2020 17:31 (six months ago) link

Great thread. My fave that hasn't been mentioned: Never Get Out of These Blues Alive, with several shades of blues---title track and "TB Sheets," which has Michael White's electric violin like a trapped bird up in the cobwebs, but also "Boogie With The Hook" "Get...hiiigh...", White incisive and rolling right along, Elvin Bishop, Van Morrison, coming in elsewhere, quite a house party weekend overall.
And somewhere I've got a solid promo box set of later collabs: Robert Cray seems to understand him best.

dow, Monday, 13 July 2020 17:57 (six months ago) link

five months pass...

Charles Shaar Murray's book on Jimi Hendrix, Crosstown Traffic, is by far my favorite book on Hendrix, and probably one of my very favorite books covering some historical or critical aspect of popular music, on par with Deep Blues, Mystery Train and Hellfire. Re-reading it now, it's astonishingly timely. So I just started reading his authorized biography on Hooker based on Christgau's belated but glowing review, and it may be just as good. Though the style and approach are similar, the Hendrix book was more focused cultural history and criticism while summarizing Hendrix's short life in a single chapter - here he's written a very thorough biography.

So far, my favorite anecdote may be his experience in the military. In the late '30s, he actually joined the army. Even all-out war was looming in Europe, Hooker wasn't worried about the U.S. getting involved - and to be fair, most of the country didn't seem to be either. He joined to get WOMEN. He had a girlfriend who left him for a guy in uniform, and observing the success they were having, he joined up. He had nothing but great memories, and then five months later, they found he lied about his age (you needed parental consent if you were under 21, and there was no way he was getting that). He made up some bullshit that "he wanted to serve his country," and that got to them, because all they did was discharge him. That may have saved him, because even though he was underage, the discharge meant he couldn't be drafted, so when the U.S. DID join the war and Hooker was in his 20s, he was never called up.

As he tells it, the war years were especially good because the shortage of men greatly improved his dating life (he actually married twice in that short time) and he got plenty of paid work even though he was constantly fired from playing clubs at night and barely staying awake for his day job - if he got fired, he'd just walk over to the next company and land a job there. Anyway, pretty crazy how WWII could have robbed him of the life he had, and instead it helped prop him up until his breakthrough thanks to an impulsive decision.

birdistheword, Saturday, 9 January 2021 07:37 (two weeks ago) link

* more focused on cultural history
* Even though all-out war
* they found out he lied
* fired as a result of playing clubs at night

I need to proof-read before I post

birdistheword, Saturday, 9 January 2021 07:41 (two weeks ago) link

Agree about Crosstown Traffic; I read it when I was writing my Miles Davis book. It rules. You should maybe check out Greg Tate's Midnight Lightning, too; the two books are kind of spiritually kin, and the Tate is a quick read.

but also fuck you (unperson), Saturday, 9 January 2021 12:14 (two weeks ago) link

It's been a while since I read them, but both books are excellent.

Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 9 January 2021 13:41 (two weeks ago) link

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