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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label John Lee Hooker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Lee Hooker. Show all posts

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Cleopatra Records release: A Double Dose Of Blues - Various Artists - New Release review

I just received a cool 2 cd release, A Double Dose Of Blues from Cleopatra Records and it boasts a who's who of blues and guitar giants. Opening the first disc (From Clarksdale To Heaven - Remembering John lee Hooker) is blues giant John Lee Hookers daughter and blues star, Zakiya Hooker on I Want To Hug You, supported is a stately manner by Johnnie Johnson on piano, Bobby Murray on guitar, Tony Cook on synth guitar, David Daniel on bass, Marlon Gren on drums and Victor Puebla on percussion. This shuffle track is really nicely balanced between the power of Hooker's vocals and Johnnie Johnson's key work. Jack Bruce and Gary Moore team up on I'm In The Mood backed by Gary Husband. Gary Moore really lays out a nice solo on this track with Bruce thumping away behind him. Very nice! Vince Converse leads I'm Bad Like Jesse James on guitar and vocal, backed by Leo Lyons and Ric Lee from Ten Years After. Converse really rips some hot riffs under the track , the band basically keeping the skeletal framework as set up by Hooker. The spectacular, Jeff Beck leads Will The Circle Be Unbroken with singers, Siggi Josiah and Earl Green/Kingdom Choir. Beck's signature guitar work is unmistakable and outstanding. Gary Brooker (keys/vocals) and Andy Fairweather-Low (guitars) team up on Baby Lee with a Latin beat by Henry Spinetti. Very cool! T.S. McPhee (guitar and vocal) and Dick Heckstall-Smith (sax) do a super broke down Ground Hog Blues. Mick Taylor on lead vocal and slide teams up with Max Middleton (Jeff Beck Group) for a swinging version of This Is Hip. Always loved Taylor's slide playing! Super. The Peter Green Splinter Group does an authentic style Crawlin' King Snake. With Green on acoustic guitar, and harp, Nigel Watson on open tuned acoustic, Roger Cotton on rhythm guitar and pete Stroud on bass this is deep! Mr Clem Clemson (Humble Pie) teams up with Tony McPhee and Heckstall Smith for a great boogie, I'm Leaving making Hooker proud. Brooker on vocal and piano and Fairweather-Low are back on Little Wheel and each plays solo's that are nicely suited for modern interpretations of Hooker boogie. Gregg's Egg does a modern/pop funky version of The Business featuring Suzanne Sterling on lead guitar and Futoshi Morroka on lead guitar. Jeff Beck is back on Hobo Blues and again with his signature tone. Earl Green on lead vocal actually captures Hooker pretty well. Excellent! Jack Bruce and Gary Moore are back on Serves You Right To Suffer. Bruce with Gary Husband on drums keeps the bottom anchored and Moore sings up a soulful lead vocal accented by crisp guitar riffs. Booker T on organ and Randy California (Spirit)join up with the Hook hinself on lead guitar and vocal to Red House. Cool!

 Disc 2 (Knights of The Blues Table) opens with Send For Me with Jack Bruce on lead vocal, bass and harp with Clemson on guitar and Heckstall Smith on sax. This is a rocker and a great opener. Georgie Fame lays down a cool jazz If You Live. Very nice! Duffy Power on acoustic guitar and coval, backed by Heckstall - Smith on sax and Alex Keen on bass lays down the most basic of modern acoustic blues. Very nice. Chris Jagger takes lead vocal and guitar on Racketeer's Blues, backed by Charlie Hart on bass, Ed Beane on guitar, Malcolm Mortimore on drums and Mick Jagger on harp. Interesting! Peter Brown steps up on lead vocal on Rocks In My Bed. Heckstall-Smith (of Coliseum) sets down some real nice sax lines on this and throughout the release. Miller Anderson, known for vocals on many bands including Savoy Brown, Keef Hartley and Chicken Shack does and excellent job on Don't Let Me be Misunderstood. Maggie Bell (Stone The Crows) teams up with Big Jim Sullivan for Blind Man. Sullivan shows his excellent guitar strength throughout this track and Bells vocals are solid as ever! On Robert Johnson's Travelling Riverside Blues Peter Green and Nigel Watson harmonize and play traditional acoustic guitar riffs. Very nice! Tony McPhee is on acoustic guitar and vocal on Drop Down Mama. This is a real nice modern interpretation of Sleepy John's original. I've always loved this track, I've Got News For You. This arrangement is slow and really bluesy featuring Clemson on vocal and guitar. Didn't know Clem could sing but he sure can. With Mark Feltham on harp and Ronnie Leahy on piano this track is really hot. Sonny Boy Williamson's Nine Below Zero features Dennis Greaves on vocal and guitar and Billy on harp. Nice blues rocker. The Pretty Things lay down Judgement Day with Phil May on Vocal, Dick Taylor on guitar, John Povey on harp, Skip Alan on drums and Wally Allen on Bass. Very Yardbirds like! Paul Jones and Otis Grand do Play On Little Girl/TBone Shuffle. Jones on lead vocal and harp, Grand on guitar, Mike Hobart on sax, Steve Wren on piano, Chico Lopez on bass and Junior Delmas on drums make this a super modern blues rocker! Mick Clarke (vocal and guitar) and Lou Martin (piano) do a very simple but effective cover of James Cotton's One More Mile To Go, one of my favorite tracks on the release... clean and tight! Mick Taylor and Max Middleton team up on Willie Dixon's You Shook Me. Both Middleton and Taylor shine on this number with sweet extended solos. Tom Killner delivers Midnight Call, a solid rocker featuring his own lead vocal and guitar backed by Nigel Killner and Jake Ashton. Wrapping the release is Eli Cook's Sweet Thang featuring Tinsley Ellis. A lumbering bluesy number, this is a real nice track to conclude a super batch of blues and blues rock.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Cleopatra Blues Imprint To Release “A Double Dose Of The Blues” A Star-Studded Collection Of Blues Legends From Both The US & The UK

Cleopatra Blues Imprint To Release “A Double Dose Of The Blues” A Star-Studded Collection Of Blues Legends From Both The US & The UK

Los Angeles - Cleopatra Blues Imprint is releasing a deluxe 2-for-1 package featuring a star-studded tribute to the music of John Lee Hooker (From Clarksdale To Heaven - Remembering John Lee Hooker) and a superb gathering of UK bluesmen (Knights Of The Blues Table)!

“A Double Dose Of The Blues” features Jeff Beck, John Lee Hooker, Gary Moore, Mick Taylor, Jack Bruce, Gary Brooker, Peter Green, Clem Clempson, Johnnie Johnson, Georgie Fame, and lots more plus a special appearance on harmonica by Mick Jagger!

Track List:
1. Zakiya Hooker, Johnnie Johnson & Bobby Murray - I Want To Hug You
2. Jack Bruce & Gary Moore - I’m In The Mood
3. LLC (Leo Lyons, Ric Lee & Vince Converse) - I’m Bad Like Jesse James
4. Jeff Beck - Will The Circle Be Unbroken
5. Gary Brooker & Andy Fairweather-Low - Baby Lee
6. T.S. McPhee & Dick Heckstall-Smith - Ground Hog Blues
7. Mick Taylor & Max Middleton - This Is Hip
8. Peter Green Splinter Group - Crawlin’ King Snake
9. Clem Clempson, Dick Heckstall-Smith & T.S. McPhee - I’m Leaving
10. Gary Brooker & Andy Fairweather-Low - Little Wheel
11. Gregg’s Eggs - The Business
12. Jeff Beck - Hobo Blues
13. Gary Moore & Jack Bruce - It Serves You Right To Suffer
14. John Lee Hooker, Booker T. Jones & Randy California - Red House

1. Jack Bruce & Clem Clempson - Send For Me
2. Georgie Fame - If You Live (Your Time Will Come)
3. Duffy Power - Go Down, Sunshine
4. Chris Jagger feat. Mick Jagger - Racketeer’s Blues
5. Pete Brown, Phil Ryan & Dick Heckstall-Smith - Rocks In My Bed
6. Miller Anderson - Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
7. Maggie Bell & Big Jim Sullivan - Blind Man
8. Peter Green & Nigel Watson - Traveling Riverside Blues
9. T.S. McPhee - Drop Down Mama
10. Jack Bruce & Clem Clempson - I've Got News For You
11. Nine Below Zero - Nine Below Zero
12. The Pretty Things - Judgment Day
13. Paul Jones & Otis Grand - Play On Little Girl / T-Bone Shuffle
14. Mick Clarke & Lou Martin - One More Mile To Go
15. Max Middleton & Mick Taylor - You Shook Me
16. Tom Killner - Midnight Call
17. Eli Cook - Sweet Thang feat. Tinsley Ellis

Buy the digital version here:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cleopatra Records artist: Canned Heat with John Lee Hooker - Carnegie Hall 1971 - New release review

I just received the newest release, Carnegie Hall 1971 from Canned Heat and it's a living snapshot of a great live band at it's peak with one of the kings of the blues! Opening with the slinky, Framed, Bob Hite speaks the lines and belts out the chorus. Backed on lead guitar by Henry Vestine, Fito de la Parra on drums, Joel Scott Hill on guitar and Antonio de la Barreda on bass this is a great track! Classic Heat, Let's Work Together is up next and a classic Heat jam. Vestine takes a cool lead solo but this track is all about the mystique of Heat. Hey Babe features the one and only John Lee Hooker on vocal and guitar. There are few vocalists to my hearing that deliver the blues like Hooker and this track spells it out in spades. One of the difficulties that I have complained about with Hooker in a larger band setting was the band's inability to capture Hooker's real sound and trying to make all of his measures even and equal. Hooker's sense of timing is not harmed here and Heat follows the master like a hound on a rabbit. Excellent! Shake 'N' Boogie is an extended track (in excess of 19 minutes) with Hooker leading the way. The track breaks about 7 minutes in for a frenzied guitar solo by Vestine. Cranking this track up to the end is Canned Heat's inspiration by Hooker. A true boogie with loose solos including a longer solo by de la Parra on drums. A great driver! Willie Dixon's Back Door Man is up next opening with a lot of guitar distortion and loose playing. Maturing into a loaded jam, this track is the embodiment of Heat jamming during it's prime. Hooker takes the lead once again for one of his own creations, Tease Me Baby. This track, showing one of Hooker's tracks with a blues rock base, gives the band the opportunity to close this performance with an upbeat rocker while still featuring the super power of JL Hooker. I tight little rocker and a sure closer for a cool live release.

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 Here's a studio version of Framed:


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Districts EP, Temples "Sun Structures", Leo Welch on NPR and More

The Districts EP

The Districts self-titled EP will be available on January 28th. Pre-order it below.


Tour Dates:
Jan 14 - The Bluebird - Bloomington, IN
Jan 15 - Zanzabar - Louisville, KY
Jan 16 - Mercy Lounge - Nashville, TN
Jan 30 - Baby's All Right - Brooklyn, NY
Jan 31 - Electric Factory - Philadelphia, PA
Feb 19 - One Eyed Jacks - New Orleans, LA
Feb 20 - The Bottletree - Birmingham, AL
Feb 21 - The Grey Eagle - Ashevillle, NC
Feb 22 - Black Cat - Washington, DC
Feb 25 - The Sinclair - Cambridge, MA
Feb 26 - The Sinclair - Cambridge, MA
Feb 27 - Union Transfer - Philadelphia, PA
Feb 28 - Webster Hall - New York, NY
Mar 1 - Higher Ground Showcase Lounge - South Burlington, VT
Mar 3 - Horseshoe Tavern - Toronto, Canada
Mar 6 - Metro - Chicago, IL
Mar 7 - Firebird - St. Louis, MO
Mar 8 - Mercy Lounge - Nashville, TN


Temples "Sun Structures"

Temples debut album "Sun Structures" will be available on February 11th. Pre-order it below, and be on the look out for upcoming North American tour dates.




Leo Welch Featured on NPR Weekend Edition

Leo Welch's debut album "Sabougla Voices" is available now on Big Legal Mess.



Water Liars Tour Dates

Feb 14 - Proud Larry's - Oxford, MS
Feb 15 - Martin's - Jackson, MS
Feb 18 - Vinyl - Atlanta, GA
Feb 19 - Normaltown Hall - Athens, GA
Feb 20 - The Royal American - Charleston, SC
Feb 21 - King's Barcade - Raleigh, NC
Feb 22 - The Mothlight - Asheville, NC
Feb 24 - DC9 - Washington, DC
Feb 25 - Milkboy - Philadelphia, PA
Feb 27 - Cafe Nine - New Haven, CT
Feb 28 - Book and Bar - Portsmouth, NH
Mar 2  - Club Cafe - Pittsburgh, PA
Mar 3 - Beachland Tavern - Cleveland, OH
Mar 5 - The Brass Rail - Ft. Wayne, IN
Mar 6 - Schubas Tavern - Chicago, IL
Mar 7 - Do317 Lounge - Indianapolis, IN
Mar 8 - Off Broadway - St. Louis, MO
Mar 10 - The Basement - Nashville, TN

Water Liars' Self-Titled album will be available on February 4th through Big Legal Mess. Pre-order it below.



Solids Tour Dates

Feb 20 - The Silver Dollar - Toronto, Canada
Feb 21 - Call The Office - London, Canada
Feb 22 - PJ's Lager House - Detroit, MI
Feb 23 - Schubas Tavern - Chicago, IL
Feb 25 - Union Sound Hall - Winnipeg, Canada
Feb 26 - O'Hanions Pub - Regina, Canada
Feb 27 - Vangelis Tavern - Saskatoon, Canada
Feb 28 - New Wunderbar Hofbrauhaus - Edmonton, Canada
Mar 1 - The Palomino - Calgary, Canada
Mar 3 - The Media Club - Vancouver, Canada
Mar 4 - Waid's - Seattle, WA
Mar 5 - Holocene - Portland, OR
Mar 7 - The Milk Bar - San Francisco, CA
Mar 8 - The Chapel - Los Angeles, CA
Mar 9 - The Void - San Diego, CA
Mar 10 - The Western - Scottsdale, AZ
Mar 12 - SXSW Festival - Austin, TX
Mar 13 - SXSW Festival - Austin, TX
Mar 14 - SXSW Festival - Austin, TX
Mar 15 - SXSW Festival - Austin, TX
Mar 16 - Circle Bar - New Orleans, LA
Mar 17 - Proud Larry's - Oxford, MS
Mar 18 - The End - Nashville, TN
Mar 20 - 529 - Atlanta, GA
Mar 21 - Local 506 - Chapel Hill, NC
Mar 22 - Crown 2 - Baltimore, MD
Mar 23 - Kung Fu Necktie - Philadelphia, PA
Mar 24 - Glasslands - Brooklyn, NY
Mar 25 - Mercury Lounge - New York, NY
Mar 27 - Great Scott - Allston, MA
Mar 28 - TRH Club - Montreal, Canada
Mar 29 - TRH Club - Montreal, Canada

Solids debut album "Blame Confusion" will be available on February 18th. Pre-order it below.


Self "Subliminal Plastic Motives"

A reissue of Self's debut album "Subliminal Plastic Motives" will be out January 14. Pre-order it below.


Upcoming Shows:
Jan 10 - Gramercy Theater - New York, NY
Jan 12 - Exit / In - Nashville, TN


Classic Blues CD Rereleases

Louisiana Red "Dead Stray Dog"

John Lee Hooker "Alone"
iTunes Vol.1
iTunes Vol.2

Roosevelt Sykes "Music Is My Business"

Alec Seward "Late One Saturday Evening"



Bobby Bare Jr "Shame On Me"

"Shame On Me", a  7" from Bobby Bare Jr is available now through Big Legal Mess.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Document Records - Blues, Blues Christmas Volume 3 - New release Review

I just received the newest release, Blues, Blues Christmas Volume 3 and it's a lot of fun! Led Belly opens with Christmas Is Coming, a rudimentary Led Belly chant blues followed by Rev JM Gates in a rousing Gettin' Ready For Christmas. Victoria Spivey does a great job on I Ain't Gonna Let You See My Santa Claus, a great blues number. John Lee Hooker sings and plays Blues For Christmas in great style and it goes without saying that his older work stand strongly on it's own merit. Johnny Hooks plays a nice sax part on this track as well. Dee Dee Ford does a cool shuffle number, Good Morning Blues. On The Penguins, Jingle Jangle, Christmas and the blues sees a rhumba beat. One of my favorite tracks on the first cd of this two cd release is The Magnolia Five singing a solid early gospel/ field call version of The Holy Baby (acapella). The Famous Jubilee Singers do a straight up gospel rendition of Go Tell It On The Mountain which of course is a strong stand alone tune. Cordell Jackson does Rock And Roll Christmas, an early rock a billy style track with time appropriate steel guitar. Coy McDaniel & Shorty Warren do a country (real country) track Christmas Choo Choo Train. This is a fun little track with nice vocal harmonies and simple accompaniment and soloing. The Davies Sisters sing the Christmas Boogie, catching a real super groove and impeccable vocal harmonies. Thelma Cooper belts out I Need A Man, a swing blues track. Another of the best tracks on disc one, has a super sax solo by an unidentified sax player. Jimmy McCracklin steps up with a more modern blues cut, Christmas Time Part 1. Wiley Kizart plays a real sweet sax solo on this track backing McCracklin's vocals. Bumble Bee Slim does a classical blues interpretation of Santa Claus Bring Me A new Woman. This is one of thise blues tracks that you would just say was good blues if you never heard the words. Nice construction and execution. Ella Fitzgerald joins Louis Jordan for the big band ballad track Baby It's Cold Outside. Of course the vocals are flawless. Amos Milburn does his standard piano shuffle blues on Christmas (Comes Once A Year). This is a cool track on it's own as well with Milburn not only right on with his vocals but also on keys. Freddy King steps up with classic Christmas Tears and does what Freddy does best, call and response with his own vocal and guitar. Terrific. Another country song, this time with a Texas Swing, Jo Poovey and the Big "D" Boys deliver on Santa's Helper. Cajun style Fiddlin' John Carson gets your feet tappin on Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over. Wrapping the first disc is Wardell Gray with the Dexter Gordon Quintet and Jingle Jangle Jump, another big band swing track. Disc 2 opens with classic Lightnin' Hopkins and Santa Claus, my favorite track on the release. Hopkins has a special style and this is it. Jimmy McCracklin is back with Christmas Time 2 and a cool easy swing blues and another thundering sax solo from Kizart. Hop Wilson accompanied by Elmore Nixon with great piano sings a smokin blues track, Merry Christmas Darling, also adding some cool slide. Duke Ellington Orchestra does a classic instrumental of the Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy. Really smooth. Ozie Ware joining Ellington's Hot Five sings a super blues vamp, Santa Claus, Bring My Man Back,  followed by Barney Bigard on clarinet and Freddie Jenkins on trumpet. Rev. Rice's Sanctified Singers does a revival style Who Do You Call That Wonderful Counselor. Spartanburg Famous Four do a really solid acapella, Go Where I Send Thee. Super! The Ravens perform a very classic and straight up version of Silent Night for the traditionalists. The Youngsters sing a playful Christmas In Jail, a light hearted sing track. The Jackson Trio really rock out with Jingle Bell Hop, a blend between rock and new Orleans jazz. Very cool instrumental track. Cordell Jackson rocks the joint with Be-Boppers Christmas. Vernon Dalhart sings a very period piece in Santa Claus That's Me. This is a clever UK based track with simple accompaniment and fiddle. Lil McClintock has a driving country blues style on Don't Think I'm Santa Claus with only simple acoustic guitar and vocal. Walter Davis does a nice piano blues, New "Santa Claus" and his vocals are gripping. Very nice. BB King rolls out is the kings typical with full orchestra on Christmas Celebration but of course adds some tasty guitar riffs to his already super vocals. The Larks do big band swing Christmas To New Years. The Five Keys do 50'S style ballad on It's Christmas Time, a strong vocal harmony track. Oscar McLolli and His Honey Jumpers roll out a really swinging blues track, Dig That Crazy Santa Claus and the title tells a lot. Done in a light hearted manner, this track is a super choice to begin the wrap up of this set. Billy Ward And His Dominoes perform a multivoice Ringing In A Brand New Year. Last up is Ella Fitzgerald singing the ballad, The Secret Of Christmas. Fitzgerald has always been one of the benchmarks for vocalists and she does a super job here.

 “Like” Bman’s Facebook page. I use Facebook to spread the word about my blog (Now with translation in over 50 languages). I will not hit you with 50 posts a day. I will not relay senseless nonsense. I use it only to draw attention to some of the key posts on my blog each day. In this way I can get out the word on new talent, venues and blues happenings! - click Here Get Facebook support for your favorite band or venue - click HERE


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Boom Boom - Mark Naftalin Band with John Lee Hooker

Mark Naftalin (born August 2, 1944) is an American blues keyboardist, composer, and record producer.
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, Naftalin is the son of former Minneapolis mayor Arthur Naftalin; he is married to third wife Ellen Naftalin. His son is the San Francisco Bay Area artist, David Normal.
He moved to Chicago in 1961, and graduated from the University of Chicago in 1964, where he performed on piano at campus "twist parties," popular at the time. It was at these parties that Naftalin first played with blues harmonica player Paul Butterfield and guitarist Elvin Bishop, the nucleus of what was to become the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

He is known for his role, from 1965-1968, in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. On certain albums by this group he is credited as "Naffy Markham". In the late 1960s, after the first four Butterfield albums, Naftalin went out on his own, settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. There he put together the Mark Naftalin "Rhythm & Blues Revue" and has been active in blues and rock recording sessions, solo gigs and revue shows, and as a producer of concerts, festivals and radio shows. He also played with Mike Bloomfield as a duo and in a band (most often called Mike Bloomfield & Friends) from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s, and hosted Mark Naftalin's Blue Monday Party, a weekly blues show (1979-1983) that featured over 60 blues artists and groups and was the scene of 86 live radio broadcasts and three TV specials.

Naftalin has produced the Marin County Blues Festival (1981-2000), and has been the associate producer of the Monterey Jazz Festival's "Blues Afternoon" (1982-1991). His weekly radio show, Mark Naftalin's Blues Power Hour has been on the air almost continuously since 1979 on San Francisco's radio KALW-FM.

Naftalin co-founded the Blue Monday Foundation and, in 1988, started his own label, Winner Records, which has issued recordings by artists including Paul Butterfield and Percy Mayfield. He continued to perform, both solo and in an ensemble, in the Bay area and elsewhere, often with longtime associate slide guitarist, Ron Thompson.

Naftalin has also recorded with many blues players including John Lee Hooker, Otis Rush, Percy Mayfield, Lowell Fulson, Big Joe Turner, James Cotton, Mike Bloomfield, Jake Walker and Van Morrison, and as a sideman on over 100 albums.
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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Great Blues Medley - John Lee Hooker with Muddy's band

Born near Clarksdale, Mississippi on August 22, 1917 to a sharecropping family, John Lee Hooker's earliest musical influence came from his stepfather, Will Moore. By the early 1940's Hooker had moved north to Detroit by way of Memphis and Cincinnati. Hooker found work as a janitor in the auto factories, and at night, like many other transplants from the rural Delta, he entertained friends and neighbors by playing at "house parties". He was "discovered" by record storeowner Elmer Barbee who took him to Bernard Besman, who was a producer, record distributor and owner of Sensation Records, Besman leased some of his early Hooker recordings to Modern Records. Among Hooker's first recordings in 1948, "Boogie Chillen" became a number one jukebox hit for Modern and his first million seller. This was soon followed by an even bigger hit with "I'm In The Mood" and other classic recordings including "Crawling Kingsnake" and "Hobo Blues." Another surge in his career took place with the release of more than 100 songs on Vee Jay Records during the 1950's and 1960's.

When the young bohemian audiences of the 1960's "discovered" Hooker along with other blues originators, he and various he and others made a brief return to folk blues. Young British artist such as the Animals, John Mayall, and the Yardbirds introduced Hooker's sound to the new and eager audiences whose admiration and influence helped build Hooker to superstar status in the mid - 60's England. By 1970 he had moved to California and worked on several projects with rock musicians, notably Van Morrison and Canned Heat. Canned Heat modeled their sound after Hooker's boggie and collaborated with him on several albums and tours.

During the late 1970's and much of the 1980's, Hooker toured the U.S. and Europe steadily but grew disenchanted with recording, through his appearance in the Blues Brothers movie resulted in a heightened profile. Then, in 1989, The Healer was released to critical acclaim and sales in excess of a million copies. Today the "The King Of The Boggie" is enjoying the most successful period of his extensive career. In the past ten years Hooker's influence has contributed to a booming interest in the blues and, notably, its acceptance by the music industry as a commercially viable entity.

Hooker's career has been a series a highlights and special events since the release of The Healer. In addition to recording his on albums Mr. Lucky, Boom Boom, Chill Out, and Don't Look Back for Pointblank / Virgin, he contributed to recordings by B.B. King, Branford Marsalis, Van Morrison, and Big Head Todd and the Monsters and portrayed the title role in Pete Townshend's 1989 epic, The Iron Man.

His influence on younger generations has been documented on television with features on Showtime and a special edition of the BBC's 'Late Show' as well as appearances on "The Tonight Show" and "Late Night With David Letterman" among many others. John Lee was invited to perform The Rolling Stones and guest Eric Clapton for their national television broadcast during The Stones' 1989 Steel Wheels tour. In 1990, many musical greats paid tribute to John Lee Hooker with a performance at Madison Square Garden. Joining him on some or all of these special occasions were artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder, Joe Cocker, Huey Newton, Carlos Santana, Robert Clay, Mick Fleetwood, Al Cooper, Johnny Winter, John Hammond, and the late Albert Collins and Willie Dixon.

Hooker's 1991 induction into the Rock n' Roll Hall Of Fame was fitting for the man who has influenced countless fans and musicians who have in turn influenced many more. Honors continue, with recent inductions into Los Angeles' Rock Walk, The Bammies Walk Of Fame in San Francisco, and, in 1997, a star in the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

John Lee's style has always been unique, even among other performers of the real deep blues, few of whom remain with us today. While retaining that foundation he has simultaneously broken new ground musically and commercially. At the age of 80, John Lee Hooker received his third and fourth Grammy Awards, for Best Traditional Blues Recording (Don't Look Back) and for Best Pop Collaboration for the song "Don't Look Back" which Hooker recorded with his long time friend Van Morrison. This Friendship and others are celebrated on Hooker's newest Pointblank / Virgin album, The Best Of Friends. The album also celebrates a return, exactly 50 years later, to Hooker's first hit, Boogie Chillen and serves as a perfect bookend for Hooker's first fifty years in the business.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Boogie Man in the Motor City - The John Lee Hooker Story - Part 1

John Lee Hooker (August 22, 1917 – June 21, 2001) was a highly influential American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist.

Hooker began his life as the son of a sharecropper, William Hooker, and rose to prominence performing his own unique style of what was originally a unique brand of country blues. He developed a 'talking blues' style that was his trademark. Though similar to the early Delta blues, his music was metrically free. John Lee Hooker could be said to embody his own unique genre of the blues, often incorporating the boogie-woogie piano style and a driving rhythm into his blues guitar playing and singing. His best known songs include "Boogie Chillen'" (1948), "I'm in the Mood" (1951) and "Boom Boom" (1962), the first two reaching R&B #1 in the Billboard charts.
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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hines Farm Blues Club

in-the-day_6Frank "Sonny" Hines and his wife Sarah bought a house and a farm on 30 acres of land from the Hallet Realty Company in Swanton, Ohio and the Hine's Farm Blues Club was born.

As was common in the area for the late 1940s the Hineses began holding house parties and suppers in their basement. These parties eventually grew to the outside and the Hineses built the still standing Juke Joint in a heavily wood section of their property. This helped to draw even larger crowds and more musicians like Big Jack Reynolds, B. B. King, Freddie King, Jimmy McCracklin, Bobby Blue Bland and John Lee Hooker. When the crowds grew even bigger a large pavilion was built as a joint venture with Mr. Luke onto the back of the main club. With it's large area and raised stage at the back it was more than capable of holding all of the fans who came for the shows. It also doubled as a skating rink during the warm months and became known as "Mr. Luke's Outdoor Pavilion." The pavilion's grand opening was August 12-13, 1961. Count Basie honored the opening with a performance from him and his Orchestra.
 Another wonderful aspect of Hines Farm were the shake dancers. These female dancers would perform erotic dancing as a band or deejay played accompanying music. Along with the female dancers were female impersonators who performed with the shake dancers. Dancers and impersonators from all around would come to Hines Farm to perform and many were just as popular as the musicians.
With 30 acres of property, the events held at Hines Farm were not restricted to music and dancing. Exhibition baseball games, carnival rides, hayrides, horse racing, miniature golf and motorcycle racing were common events held throughout the year. One of the most popular was the motorcycle racing, sponsored by local black motorcycle clubs. Henry Griffin, the current owner reminisces:

Oh man, I just loved those motorcycles out there. There would be hundreds of guys in a bunch of different motorcycles clubs from all over, not only the Toledo area but as far as Mississippi and Alabama. They'd have all their motorcycles out here in this field and it was just a sea of bikes. Hines would send out a flyer that he was having a motorcycle race and he would have people come from all over, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. They'd get on their motorcycles and ride right up here and there would be thousands of them.
Henry Drinking CoffeeWhat happened next can only be described as man's never satisfied need to grow. In the early 1960s the Toledo Express Airport extended it's runway cutting Route 295 in half. This forced everyone to seek an alternate route to Hines Farm and moved it from just off the beaten path to more of a backwoods country locale. People found it difficult to get to Hines Farm and many got lost either coming or going. Hines Farm was a victim to the Urban Renewal of the late 1960s as was the main music district in the heart of the black community. That area was Dorr Street and was demolished in the name of urban expansion. This spelled the end of Toledo's thriving blues music scene.
 Blind BobbyFast forward to 1978, Frank and Sarah Hines were both in a rest home and their son had boarded up the entire farm. The buildings were in shambles; the club was all boarded up with major damage to the roof and interior. In walks Henry Griffin, who's history with Hines Farm goes back to his childhood when his parents would come up from their home in the south during the summer. Henry had so many fond memories of the place he decided to purchase and renovate the club. With lots of time and money Henry has reopened the old blues club, pavilion and juke joint.
Today, Griffin's Hines Farm Blues Club holds a blues show once a month showcasing blues talent from Toledo and beyond. In the tradition of Frank and Sarah Hines the club opens it's doors to everyone so all can have a good time. With great food, great music, and great atmosphere you are bound to have a great time at Griffin's Hines Farm Blues Club.

* Special thanks to Matthew A. Donahue, PhD.
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Saturday, December 17, 2011

What is it with all this keeping the Blues alive BS!!! - Bman's Rant

First off I have to ask what is this all about? Why does this question even exist? It is my understanding that Blues Music started in America around 1900 and that it was a derivative of native African culture. Due to the racial conditions present at the time, field hollers, spiritual music and the like was the basis for the black culture and it's music. Blues music evolved from actual feelings inside of a person rather than catchy melodies and lyrics contrived to get airplay on the radio or to sell records. It was conceived to give comfort to those that sang, played and enjoyed it. At this time it was not at all accepted as a form of entertainment outside of the group of people who had been involved with it.... mostly slaves and workmen. It wasn't until WWI that white audiences began to become exposed to this music through the likes of W.C. Handy and Bessie Smith among others.

As free blacks started to immigrate north to the larger cities in search of work, more and more white audiences were becoming exposed to this terrific music but it was still not broadly accepted. Ok. Now lets look back. It has been around a minimum of 40 years to this point with basically no audience and it survives just fine... this is where my question of "Is The Blues Dying" comes in. It's hogwash!!

It took the likes of John Mayall, Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac), the Yardbirds, the Rolling Stones and other British rockers to tell America to wake up and smell the coffee. They produced an updated version of the traditional black blues and audiences were listening. It was this introduction that was the beginning of rock music as we know it. Sure there
was Elvis copying Big Mama and JLL but rock music came out of a real love for the blues. Musical sessions with Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, Otis Spann and others caused an awakening of consciousness of this great music.

It didn't hurt that the introduction of the new Blues Music, being a deep rooted feeling music, coincided with the "album rock" explosion that occurred in the early mid sixties. Guitar players went from making 3 minute songs to expanded 8 minutes songs to play longer

Friday, November 25, 2011

I'll Never Get Out of These Blues Alive - John Lee Hooker

In my mind one of the big five bluesmen of all times!
John Lee Hooker (August 22, 1917 – June 21, 2001) was an American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist.

Hooker began his life as the son of a sharecropper, William Hooker, and rose to prominence performing his own unique style of what was originally closest to Delta blues. He developed a 'talking blues' style that was his trademark. Though similar to the early Delta blues, his music was metrically free. John Lee Hooker could be said to embody his own unique genre of the blues, often incorporating the boogie-woogie piano style and a driving rhythm into his masterful and idiosyncratic blues guitar and singing. His best known songs include "Boogie Chillen'" (1948), "I'm in the Mood" (1951) and "Boom Boom" (1962), the first two reaching R&B #1 in the Billboard charts.
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