Canned Heat – The New Age (1973)

FrontCover1The New Age is the ninth studio album by Canned Heat, released in 1973. It was the first album to feature the talents of James Shane and Ed Beyer. Clara Ward also appears on the album in her very last recording. Influential Rock Critic Lester Bangs was fired from Rolling Stone for writing a “disrespectful” review of this album upon its release:

Hey, kids and bluesbusterbrowns of all ages, guess who’s back? No, not the Plaster Casters Blues Band – it’s Canned Heat! The originators of Boogie in the flesh! And it sure is refreshing to see ’em too, what with all these jive-ass MOR pseud-dudes like John Lee Hooker ripping off their great primal riffs and milking ’em dry.
How did we love Canned Heat? Let’s count the ways. We loved ’em because they scooped out a whole new wrinkle in the monotone mazurka; it wasn’t their fault that a whole generation of ten zillion bands took it and ran it into the ground sans finesse after Canned Heat had run it into the ground so damned good themselves. We loved ’em because they’ve always held the record for Longest Single Boogie Preserved on Wax: “Refried Boogie” from Livin’ The Blues was 40-plus minutes of real raunch froth perfect for parties or car stereos, especially if they got ripped off – and a lot of it was even actually listenable. We loved ’em because Henry Vestine was an incredible, scorching motherfucker of a guitarist, knocking you through the wall. And we loved ’em because Bobby Bear was so damned weird you could abide his every excess.

But Canned Heat disappeared from the sets for awhile there, just sorta flapped up and boogied into the zone and what was really sad was that nobody missed ’em. Even though they were always real fine journeymen, they never made a wholly and entirely good album, of course, but they’ve consistently had their moments. And The New Age, which of course is no new age at all, has just as many of ’em as any of the others. There’s “Keep It Clean”, a happy highho funk churn like unto their cover of Wilbert Harrison’s “Let’s Work Together”, which means it could very well be hitbound. There’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Music”, Bear Hite’s obligattortilla in deference to the traditions, his utter lack of imagination, and all that. He’s been listening to some old New Orleans R&B this time, so it’s OK even if he does still sing like a scalped guppy.

“Framed” is just a reprise in new drag of their classic about being busted in Denver that was on Boogie with Canned Heat, and that was just a new-drag on old Bo Diddley and “Jailbait” riffs. “Election Blues” is the required slow blues chest retch. “So Long Wrong” is one more low down blackboned gutgrok funk-lurking album-closer boogie just like lotsa their other yester highlights. Vestine still knows how to play so’s to make you feel like ringworms are St. Vitusing in your heartburn, and Hite scrapes your intestines widdat bass good as Mole Taylor ever did. “Lookin for My Rainbow” even has Clara Ward and her jive bombers just for a tintype taste of authenticity, but it’s boring as old View Master slides and most of the rest of the songs are just some kinda nondescript clinkletybonk tibia-rattling in pursuit of yeehah countryisms so let ’em dry rot in the grooves.
Buy this album if you’ve gotta lotta money or don’t care much what you blow your wad on, but don’t pass up any of the really cosmic stuff like the Stooges for it or the shadow of Blind Lemon Jefferson will come and blow his nose on your brow every night. (Lester Bangs – Rolling Stone # 136)


Bob Hite proved fat was really where it’s at for good rocking white men who play blooze’n’boogie. Okay, all that bulk killed him in the end, but the output of Bob and the varied Canned Heat line-ups, particularly through 1966 to 1974, proved even more substantial than The Bear’s waistline.

New Age was a pretty ironic title even on its release in 1973. Don’t be fooled, even though this is a pretty mellow album by Heat standards, it’s not lift music for stressed-out executives.

Even if the Great White Blues Boom had already disappeared up its own bottleneck, New Age’s roots are very much 12-bar, though most of the tracks are self-penned and confident enough not to be imitative of the Chicago style that originally brought Canned Heat both fame and infamy.

Instead, New Age is framed by the opening whip-crack pace of “Keep It Clean”, and ends with “Election Blues”, all slide and bar-room keyboards. The former is a song of hope that Richard Nixon would get thrown out of power, the latter a bitterly laidback post-election blues. The boys knew then the New Age wasn’t gonna come, but even big Bob didn’t know just how bad it would get. (by Randy Bones)

Clara Ward

Ed Beyer (piano)
Bob Hite (vocals)
Richard Hite (bass)
Adolfo de la Parra (drums)
James Shane (guitar)
Henry Vestine (guitar)
Clara Ward (vocals on 05.)


01. Keep It Clean (B,Hite) 2.46
02. Harley Davidson Blues (Shane) 2.38
03. Don’t Deceive Me (B.Hite) 3.12
04. You Can Run, But You Sure Can’t Hide (Beyer) 3.15
05. Lookin’ For My Rainbow (Shane) 5.24
06. Rock And Roll Music (B.Hite) 2.29
07. Framed (Leiber/Stoller) 5.07
08. Election Blues (Beyer) 6.04
09. So Long Wrong (Shane) 5.36






Canned Heat – 70 Concert Recorded Live In Europe (1970)

LPFrontCover1Canned Heat ’70 Concert Recorded Live in Europe is a 1970 live album by Canned Heat. The album is taken from various locations on live concert European tour right before Alan Wilson’s death and is the band’s first officially released live album. (by wikipedia)

This platter captures the 1970 incarnation of Canned Heat with Bob “The Bear” Hite (vocals), Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson (guitar/vocals/harmonica), Larry “The Mole” Taylor (bass), Aldolfo “Fito” de la Parra (drums), and newest addition Harvey Mandel (guitar), who had replaced Henry “Sunflower” Vestine (guitar) in 1969. They headed across the Atlantic in the spring of 1970 on the heels of “Let’s Work Together” — a Wilbert Harrison cover that charted within the Top Five in Europe. That outing yielded the combo’s first concert disc, Live in Europe (1971) — which had been issued almost a year earlier in the U.K. as Canned Heat Concert (Recorded Live in Europe) (1970). These are also among the final recordings to feature Wilson, whose increasing substance abuse and depression would result in an overdose prior to having re-joined the band for another stint in Europe in the fall of the same year.

Indeed the brooding “Pulling Hair Blues” from this effort is marked not only by some decidedly dark and strung-out contributions, but more subtly, Hite’s tentative introduction of Wilson — indicating he had not been playing for the duration of the set. The Heat’s performance style has shifted from the aggressive rhythm and blues of their earliest sides to a looser and more improvisational technique. The opener, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s “That’s All Right Mama,” is given a greasy mid-tempo groove over Hite’s vocals . Mandel shines as his guitar leads dart in and out of the languid boogie. Although presented as a medley, “Back on the Road” is more or less an inclusive number with only brief lyrical references to “On the Road Again.” Mandel’s sinuous fretwork melds flawlessly with Wilson’s harmonica blows. The powerful rendering of the aforementioned “Let’s Work Together” is a highlight, with Canned Heat in top form as Wilson’s electric slide riffs recall their seminal sound. (by Lindsay Planer)


Bob Hite (vocals)
Harvey Mandel (guitar)
Fito de la Parra (drums)
Larry Taylor (bass)
Alan Wilson (slide guitar, vocals, harmonica)


01. That’s All Right Mama (Crudup) 9.03
02. Bring It On Home (Dixon) 6.18
03. Pulling Hair Blues (Wilson/Taylor) 9.21
04. Medley:
04.1.Back Out On The Road (Hite)
04.2.On The Road Again (Jones/Wilson/Johnson) 6.01
05. London Blues (Wilson) 7.54
06. Let’s Work Together (Harrison) 4.51
07. Goodbye For Now”(de la Parra/Mandel) 3.26




Canned Heat – Live At Topanga Coral (1971)

FrontCover1JPGLive at Topanga Corral is a 1971 live album by Canned Heat. The album is taken from a 1969 concert at the Kaleidoscope in Hollywood, California and not at the Topanga Corral as the title suggests. Canned Heat was under contract to Liberty Records at the time and Liberty did not want to do a live album, so manager Skip Taylor told Liberty that the album had been recorded in 1966 & 1967 at the Topanga Corral and released the record with Wand Records to avoid legal complications. The record has been bootlegged and reissued countless times, and is also known as Live at the Kaleidoscope.(by wikipedia)

This is one of the strongest documents to feature Canned Heat in concert. However, contrary to the title, these performances are not from the Topanga Corral — where the Heat were the house band off and on during the mid-1960s. Instead, it was later revealed the origins were actually from a Los Angeles club called the Kaleidoscope circa 1968. They most likely hail from the same batch of tapes that yielded the 4-plus-minute epic “Refried Boogie,” which spread over Sides Three and Four on the Living the Blues (1968) two-LP package. The personnel includes Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson (guitar/harmonica/vocals), Larry “The Mole” Taylor (bass), Henry “Sunflower” Vestine (guitar), Bob “The Bear” Hite (vocals), and Aldolfo “Fito” de la Parra (drums). Indeed, these recordings were made prior to the rapid drug-related decline and eventual replacement of Vestine — who is actually in top flight throughout — with Harvey Mandel in mid-1969.


Original frontcover

Another factor in the chronology is the soulful interpretation of standard blues numbers, which would be incrementally abandoned for longer and more rambling psychedelic jams by the time of Live in Europe (1970). However, the difference between the early 1970s incarnation and this ‘classic’ lineup seems to lie primarily in their respective approaches. This seminal aggregate explores more traditional outlets such as the languid approach to B.B. King’s “Sweet Sixteen,” sporting some incendiary fretwork from the coupling of Wilson’s smooth slide and Vestine’s sinuous and punctuating leads. The former further exemplifies his bottleneck prowess on a rollicking reading of Elmore James’ “Dust My Broom” that swings solid from tip to tail. As does the upbeat and slightly Creole-flavored “I Wish You Would,” landing somewhere between the Yardbirds’ aggressive take and Billy Boy Arnold’s original. While interested parties are encouraged to find this set, caveat emptor, as the exact same material exists under a bevy of monikers. Most notable among these are Live at the Kaleidoscope 1969 (2000), Very Best of the Blues Years (2000), and as part of a two-fer with Vintage (1969) on Live at the Topanga Corral/Vintage (2001) — which arguably boasts the best sound, having been remastered. (by Lindsay Planer)

In other words: One of the best Canned Heat concert ever recorded !

Canned Heat01

Bob Hite (vocals)
Fito de la Parra (drums)
Larry Taylor (bass)
Henry Vestine (guitar)
Alan Wilson (slide guitar, vocals, harmonica)

01. Bullfrog Blues (Hite/la Parra/Taylor/Vestine/Wilson) 7.21
02. Sweet Sixteen (Josea/King) 10.57
03. I’d Rather Be The Devil (Johnson) 5.10
04. Dust My Broom (James) 5.46
05. Wish You Would (Arnold) 8.03
06. When Things Go Wrong  (Whittaker) 9.08



Canned Heat02

Canned Heat – Boogie Up The Country (1988)

FrontCover1During the 1980s the interest in the type of music played by Canned Heat was revived and, despite the past tragedies and permanent instability, the band appeared to be revitalized. In 1985, Trout had left to join John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, so Vestine was once again back in the band and he brought with him new musical talent from Oregon in James Thornbury (slide guitar and lead vocals) and Skip Jones (Bass). They were dubbed the “Nuts and Berries” band by de la Parra, due to their love of organic food. It was not long before former members Larry Taylor (replacing Jones) and Ronnie Barron returned to round out the group. Versions of this lineup would record the live album, Boogie Up The Country, in Kassel, Germany, in 1987 and also appear on the Blues Festival Live in Bonn ’87 Vol 2 compilation. Barron, just as before did not last long in this lineup, nor did Vestine, who was once again ousted from the band due to pressure from Larry Taylor. Replacing Vestine on lead guitar was Junior Watson; his style emulated Hollywood Fats (who died in late 1986) and was perfectly suited for the band as witnessed by the well-regarded album, Reheated. Unfortunately, the album was released only in Germany in 1988 due to disagreements with the Chameleon Music Group Record label. (by wikipedia)


“Now the new revitalized Canned Heat wants to bring their classic hitsand new songs to the public.  This new band brings  with its current members, a new strong, contemporary, original sound with the same down to earth Rhythm & Blues and Boogie roots that have characterized the band throughout the years. Canned Heat is happening in the Eighties ! Catch them and watch out ! It´s heavy …” (taken from the original liner-notes).


Adolfo “Fito” De La Parra (drums, percussion, vocals)
James T. (guitar, vocals, harmonica, flute)
Larry Taylor (bass, vocals, guitar)
Henry Vestine (guitar)


01. Intro (Ansage) 0.26
02. Mercury Blues (Douglas) 3.24
03. Take Me To The River (Green/H0dges) 4.10
04. Rollin’ And Tumblin’ (Morganfield) 3.34
05. Amphetamine Annie (Hite/Wilson/Vestine/Taylor/de la Parra) 4.16
06. Bullfrog Blues (Hite/Wilson/Vestine/Taylor/de la Parra) 3.11
07. Sweet Home Chicago (Johnson) 4.28
08. Kidman Blues (Estes) 5.58
09. Going Up The Country (Wilson) 2.51
10. Let’s Work Together (Harrison) 4.32
11. Trouble No More (Morganfield) 4.31
12. Younderswall (James) 4.21
13. Boogie (Taylor) 17.31
14. Outro (Absage) 0.29



Canned Heat – Boogie With Canned Heat (1968)

FrontCover1 Canned Heat’s second long-player, Boogie With Canned Heat (1968), pretty well sums up the bona fide blend of amplified late-’60s electric rhythm and blues, with an expressed emphasis on loose and limber boogie-woogie. The quintet — consisting of Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson (guitar/harmonica/vocals), Larry “The Mole” Taylor (bass), Henry “Sunflower” Vestine (guitar), Aldolfo “Fido” Dela Parra (drums), and Bob “The Bear” Hite (vocals) — follow up their debut effort with another batch of authentic interpretations, augmented by their own exceptional instrumentation. One development is their incorporation of strong original compositions. “On the Road Again” — which became the combo’s first, and arguably, most significant hit — as well as the Albert King inspired anti-speed anthem, “Amphetamine Annie,” were not only programmed on the then-burgeoning underground FM radio waves, but also on the more adventuresome AM Top 40 stations. Their love of authentic R&B informs “World in a Jug,” the dark “Turpentine Blues,” and Hite’s update of Tommy McClennan’s “Whiskey Headed Woman.”

CannedHeat1968_01The Creole anthem “Marie Laveau” is nothing like the more familiar cut by Bobby Bare, although similarities in content are most likely derived from a common source. The side, as rendered here, is arguably most notable for the driving interaction between guitarists Wilson and Vestine as they wail and moan over Hite’s imposing leads. Saving the best for last, the Heat are at the height of their prowess during the lengthy audio biography on “Fried Hockey Boogie.” Each member is introduced by Hite and given a chance to solo before they kick out the jams, culminating in Hite’s crescendo of ” … Don’t forget to boogie!” In 1999 the French label, Magic Records, issued an expanded edition of Boogie With Canned Heat supplemented by half-a-dozen sides, such as the 45 RPM edits of “On the Road Again,” “Boogie Music” and “Goin’ Up the Country.” Also included are the once difficult-to-locate 45-only “One Kind Favor,” as well as the seasonal offering “Christmas Blues” and “The Chipmunk Song” — with guest shots from none other than Alvin, Simon, Theodore, and David Seville of the one and only Chipmunks. For enthusiasts as well as listeners curious about the oft-overlooked combo, this is an essential, if not compulsory platter. (by Lindsay Planer)

Bob “The Bear” Hite (vocals)
Adolfo “Fito” De La Parra (drums)
Larry “The Mole” Taylor (bass)
Henry “Sunflower” Vestine (guitar)
Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson (guitar, vocals, harmonica)
Sunny Land Slim (piano on 05.)

01. Evil Woman (Weiss) 3.02
02. My Crime (Hite/Parra/Taylor/Vestine/Wilson) 4.03
03. On The Road Again (Oden) 5.02
04. World In A Jug (Hite) 3.31
05. Turpentine Moan (Hite/Parra/Taylor/Vestine/Wilson) 2.59
06. Whiskey Headed Woman No. 2 (Hite/Parra/Taylor/Vestine/Wilson) 2.58
07. Amphetamine Annie (Hite/Parra/Taylor/Vestine/Wilson) 3.39
08. An Owl Song (Wilson) 2.48
09. Marie Laveau (Vestine) 5.19
10. Fried Hockey Boogie (Taylor) 11.09


Canned Heat – Future Blues (1970)

FrontCover1Future Blues is the fifth album by Canned Heat, released in 1970. It was the last to feature the band’s classic lineup, as Larry Taylor and Harvey Mandel departed soon after its release and songwriter Alan Wilson died later that year. It was also the only classic-era Canned Heat studio album to feature Mandel, as Henry Vestine had been the lead guitarist on the previous albums. Their cover of “Let’s Work Together” by Wilbert Harrison became a hit. “London Blues” features Dr. John. (by wikipedia)

The final Canned Heat album to feature co-founder Alan Wilson, Future Blues was also one of their best, surprisingly restrained as a studio creation by the band, the whole thing clocking in at under 36 minutes, as long as some single jams on their live discs. It was also one of their most stylistically diverse efforts.

CannedHeatMost of what’s here is very concise and accessible, even the one group-composed jam — Alan Wilson’s “Shake It and Break It” and his prophetically titled “My Time Ain’t Long” (he would be dead the year this record was issued), which also sounds a lot like a follow-up to “Going up the Country” until its final, very heavy, and up-close guitar coda. Other songs are a little self-consciously heavy, especially their version of Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right, Mama.” Dr. John appears, playing piano on the dark, ominous “London Blues,” and arranges the horns on “Skat,” which tries for a completely different kind of sound — late-’40s-style jump blues — than that for which the group was usually known. And the band also turns in a powerhouse heavy guitar version of Wilbert Harrison’s “Let’s Work Together.” ( by Bruce Eder)

Bob Hite (vocals)
Harvey Mandel (guitar)
Adolfo de la Parra (drums)
Larry Taylor (bass)
Alan Wilson (slide guitar, vocals, harmonica)
Dr. John – piano on 05. + 07.)
Ernest Lane (piano on 09.)


01. Sugar Bee (Shuler) 2.39
02. Shake It And Break It (Patton) 2.35
03. That’s All Right (Mama) (Crudup) 4.19
04. My Time Ain’t Long (Wilson) 3.49
05. Skat (Wilson) 2.44
06. Let’s Work Together (Harrison) 2.53
07. London Blues (Wilson) 5.31
08. So Sad (The World’s An A Tangle) (Hite/Mandel/Parra/Taylor/Wilson) 7.57
09. Future Blues (Hite/Mandel/Parra/Taylor/Wilson) 2.58
10. Let’s Work Together (Single mono version) (Harrison) 2.46
11. Skat (Single mono version) (Wilson) 2.39
12. Wooly Bully (Samudio) 2.30
13. Christmas Blues (with The Chipmunks) (Cook/Taylor/Vestine/Wilson/Hite) 2.31
14. The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) (with The Chipmunks) (Bagdasarian) 2.45


Canned Heat – One More River To Cross (1973)

FrontCover1Negotiated out of their contract with Liberty records, Canned Heat was ready for a fresh start with what Fito refers to as “The Horn Band”. Ronnie Barron and Jimmy Shane make their Canned Heat debut. “One More River To Cross” and “Bagful Of Boogie” best represent the bands new direction with Shane’s tenor vocals and Dobro guitar.  The Bear leads the group on own the line, and “Highwat 401” shows that they still are staying true to the roots of the boogie. The new direction lacked commercial appeal in the USA, but the European fans flocked to the shows “Like the wild geese winging West” as the blues lyric goes. Ending with a tribute to his idol Fats Domino, Bob performs a mix of his radio hits and asks the listeners to take a look back into Domino’s music. (from a Bob Hite fansite)

The album cover was designed by Ernie Cefalu.

A real great album !

Ed Beyer (piano)
Bob Hite – vocals
Richard Hite (bass)
Adolfo de la Parra (drums)
James Shane (guitar)
Henry Vestine (guitar)
Barry Beckett (keyboards)
Roger Hawkins (drums)
Muscle Shoal Horns (horns)

01. One More River To Cross” (Moore) 3.10
02. L.A. Town (Beyer/B.Hite/R.Hite/Parra/Shane/Vestine) 3.28
03. I Need Someone (B.Hite) 4.54
04. Bagful Of Boogie (Beyer/B.Hite/R.Hite/Parra/Shane/Vestine) 3.34
05. I’m A Hog For You Baby (Leiber/Stoller) 2.40
06. You Am What You Am ( Shane) 4.31
07. Shake, Rattle And Roll (Calhoun/Hill) 2.31
08. Bright Times Are Comin’ (Beyer/B.Hite/R.Hite/Parra/Shane/Vestine) 3.11
09. Highway 401 (Beyer/B.Hite/R.Hite/Parra/Shane/Vestine) 3.53
10. We Remember Fats (Fats Domino Medley) (Bartholomew/Domino/Lewis) 5.07