Monday, April 13, 2009

John Lee Hooker - Urban Blues (BGO, 1967)

The great blues man John Lee Hooker had a long and prolific career, beginning with classic solo recordings with just his slashing guitar, pounding foot and emotional vocals. Twenty years on he was making a successful transition to the ballroom rock 'n' roll scene as the all night boogie man playing with the likes of Canned Heat and the British band The Groundhogs. This album benefits from a tight backing band who provides a rock solid beat and allows Hooker's idiosyncratic guitar and vocals to go their own way at will. The boogie comes to the fore on some of the albums most successful selections, songs that would become Hooker staples like "Boom Boom Boom" and "Mr. Lucky" which would later become the title of one of his popular late period LPs. Hooker sings about the changing times in which he was living in a great song about his adopted hometown "The Motor City Is Burning" which concerns the riots that took place in Detroit in the mid 1960's. "Want Ad Blues" is just as timely today as it was back then. I guess this would be considered a transitional album, but it's a good one, and Hooker sounds in fighting trim throughout.
Urban Blues - amazon.com

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