Various Artists – Chicago – Post War Blues Vol.1 (1965)

FrontCover1.jpgIn 1945, the war was over, and a new world was dawning. The old-guard bluesmen were still names to respect, but there were fresh faces in town. Chicago had changed. The rural South was emptying into it again, and a new blues was being born.

Bluesman Muddy Waters and many others used to meet on Maxwell Street on Sundays, to play for the shoppers in the open air market. This is how many bluesmen new to Chicago started out. Many of the first recordings of the new blues were released on the label of a Maxwell Street store. Musicians like Moody and Floyd Jones, Johnny Young, Snooky Pryor and Sunnyland Slim played rough and ready blues which expressed the shock of life in the Windy City.

The workshops of Chicago Blues in the 40’s and 50’s were the clubs of the South and West Side ghettos: Theresa’s, Sylvio’s, Pepper’s Lounge, The 708, Smitty’s Corner, Gatewood’s Tavern, the Du Drop Inn. At the Zanzibar, female patrons sat entranced as the snake-eyed Muddy Waters sang ‘I wanna show all you good looking women just how to treat your man’. The classic Chicago line up of guitars, harmonica, piano, bass and drums was developed over years of tireless clubbing. Many private piano teachers sought clubbing gigs to take advantage of the popularity of the clubbing scene. And the perfected model of the rollercoasting blues band was demonstrated on the records of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and their peers, mostly for the Chess label.

WillieNixSingleThe glory years were the early fifties, the era of Muddy’s Hoochie-Coochie Man, Wolf’s Smokestack Lightnin’ and Jimmy Reed’s Ain’t That Lovin’ You, Baby – great songs and nationwide hits. Yet musical change was accelerating all the time, and by mid-decade the tight ensemble of Muddy’s band was being nudged aside by a radical new format, the subtler rhythms and more open textures of the bands led by young guitarists like Buddy Guy, Freddie King and Otis Rush – The West Side sound. Harmonicas gave way to saxophones, upright bass to electric, and guitar was coming into prominence as the autocratic leading voice.

There was more to the West Side sound than musical innovation. It’s intensity came from frustration and anger. “Hey, Hey, they say you can make it if you try”, sang Rush in his brilliant song Double Trouble, but added bitterly, “Some of this generation is millionaires – it’s hard for me to keep decent clothes to wear.”

It’s no coincidence that the West Siders were all guitarists. Amplified to the point of distortion, pushed to the limits of it’s potential, the guitar expressed more keenly than any other instrument the anguish and isolation of the black blues singer in white America. It was the music of a people who had gained little or nothing from the post-war prosperity.

OthumBrownSingleBut at the same time it had a wealth of it’s own, ideas from new directions, it’s pulse and the freedom it gave it’s soloists was inspired partly by contemporary jazz. Rush listened to jazz guitarists Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell and organist Jimmy Smith. But the outstanding model for the West Siders and their Sixties successors Luther Allison and Jimmy Dawkins, was B.B. King. The intense, dramatic, highly strung vocal, interspersed with the guitar was a logical progression from King’s fifties work such as Three O’Clock Blues or Please Love Me.

In the years to come, it would be King, far more than Muddy or Wolf or anyone in the Chicago Blues establishment, who would influence the style of the city’s young musicians. (by archives.waiting-forthe-sun.net)

Linernotes

Tracklist:
01. Johnny Shines: Brutal Hearted Woman (Shines) 2.40
02. Johnny Shines: Evening Sun (Shines) 2.29
03. Willie Nix: Just Can’t Stay  (Nix) 2.36
04. Willie Nix: All By Yourself (Nix) 2.35
05. Little Willie Foster: Falling Rain Blues (Foster) 2.43
06. Little Willie Foster: Four Day Jump(Foster) 2.37
07. J.B. Hutto & The Hawks: Pet Cream Man (Hutto) 3.04
08. J.B. Hutto & The Hawks: Lovin’ You (Hutto) 2.53
09. Othum Brown: Ora-Nelle Blues (Brown) 2.50
10. Little Walter: I Just Keep Loving Her (Walter) 2.29
11. Johnny Williams: Worried Man Blues (Williams) 2.40
12. Johnny Young: Money Taking Woman (Young) 2.50
13. John Lee (Hooker): Knocking On Lula Mae’s Door (Hooker) 2.39
14. John Lee (Hooker): Rythm Rockin’ Boogie (Hooker) 2.10
15. Junior Wells: Hodo Man (Wells) 2,28
16. Junior Wells: Junior’s Wail (Wells) 2.31

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Willie Nix

Willie Nix

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Various Artists – From Clarksdale To Heaven – Remembering John Lee Hooker (2002)

FrontCover1For the first of two tribute albums to John Lee Hooker, executive producer Arnie Goodman of Blue Storm Music has assembled an impressive list of British musicians from the 1960s who helped spark the ’60s blues revival that was responsible for the ascension of Hooker (among others) into legendary status. The biggest name on his own is Jeff Beck, who plays guitar on “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Hobo Blues,” but other notable figures include Cream’s Jack Bruce, Leo Lyons and Ric Lee from Ten Years After, Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker, ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, former Fleetwood Mac leader Peter Green, and Gary Moore. The performers are reverent toward Hooker’s music, maintaining its relentless rhythmic power and even at times re-creating the master’s haunting mumble of a voice. The set is not entirely given over to the Brits, however, as it opens with Inlet1A“I Want to Hug You,” sung by Hooker’s daughter, Zakiya, and ends with Hooker himself, accompanied by Booker T. Jones and Randy California, among others, performing a previously unreleased “Red House” that was cut for a Jimi Hendrix tribute album. There is also a newly written song (“The Business”) penned by Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter and Bay Area musician Greg Anton that was earmarked for a Hooker project never recorded due to his death. Such tracks provide some variety, but the strength of the album is still in the devoted performances of people like Beck and Green. (by William Ruhlmann )

From a child of his body and the children of his music, this is a chance to pay respects to the man who made his guitar a blacksmith’s anvil and pounded out rhythms of sorrow. Look for Jack Bruce’s Ozzy Osbourne-like sneer on “I’m in the Mood,” along with Gary Moore’s Godzilla footsteps on guitar. That’s Jeff Beck playing robot-metallic notes on “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Hobo Blues,” and Peter Green’s vocal sounds like a decaying zombie obeying his master on “Crawling King Snake.” John Lee himself paints a “Red House” with something other than crimson pigment, and I’ve got to credit Robert Hunter’s composition, “The Business,” by Greggs Eggs vocalist Suzanne Sterling for giving the old man that special smile with a posthumous kiss. (by Mitchell Lopate)

Inlet2A

Personnel:
Jeff Allen (drums)
Michael Bailey (bass, background vocals)
Richard Bailey (drums)
Jeff Beck (guitar)
Gary Brooker (piano, vocals)
Jack Bruce (bass, vocals)
Randy California (guitar)
Dave “Clem” Clempson (guitar)
Vince Converse (guitar, vocals)
Tony Cook (guitar)
David Daniel (bass)
Bruce Gary (drums)
Earl Green (vocals)
Peter Green (guitar, harmonica)
Kenny Greene (drums)
Dave Hadley (bass)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
John Lee Hooker (guitar, vocals)
Zakiya Hooker (vocals)
Gary Husband (drums)
Johnnie Johnson (piano)
Booker T. Jones (organ)
Ric Lee (drums)
Andy Fairweather Low (guitar)
Leo Lyons (bass)
Godfrey McLean (drums)
T.S. McPhee (guitar, vocals)
Max Middleton (piano)
Dave Moore (piano)
Gary Moore (guitar)
Bobby Murray (guitar)
Matt Pegg (bass)
Henry Spinetti (drums)
Peter Stroud (bass)
Mick Taylor (guitar, vocals)
Nigel Watson (guitar)
Chris Wilson (bass)

Inlet3A

Tracklist:
01. Zakiya Hooker, Johnnie Johnson, Bobby Murray: I Want To Hug You (Hooker) 4.04
02. Jack Bruce + Gary Moore: I’m In The Mood (Besman/Hooker) 6.19
03. LLC-Vince Converse, Leo Lyons, Ric Lee: Bad Like Jesse James (Hooker) 7.07
04. Jeff Beck: Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Traditional) 6.08
05. Gary Brooker + Andy Fairweather-Low: Baby Lee (Bracken/Hooker) 4.48
06. T.S. McPhee, Dick Heckstall-Smith: Ground Hog Blues (Hooker) 5.44
07. Mick Taylor + Max Middleton: This Is Hip () 3.50
08. Peter Green Splinter Group: Crawlin’ King Snake () 5.41
09. T.S. McPhee, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Clem Clempson: I’m Leaving () 5.25
10. Gary Brooker + Andy Fairweather-Low: Little Wheel () 5.34
11. Greggs Eggs: The Business () 4.36
12. Jeff Beck: Hobo Blues () 5.52
13. Gary Moore + Jack Bruce: Serve Me Right To Suffer () 6.24
14. John Lee Hooker, Booker T, Randy California: Red House (Hendrix) 4.57
(Prevously unreleased song with J.L. Hooker)

 

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John Lee Hooker – House of the Blues (1959)

FrontCover1In 1951 Delta emigre’ John Lee Hooker was a Detroit resident enjoying the raging success of recent singles and gearing up to wax his urgent folk blues for a host of record companies under various noms de blooze. Chess was one of the firms, and twelve sides cut between 1951 and 1954 eventually turned up on this 1959 long-player. Hooker’s singing, lubricious and steely, inveighs against annoying women; his rudimental guitar is exciting; and his stamping the plywood floor in ruttish insistence makes for exemplary blues rhythm. Most of the tracks JohnLeeHooker01Ahave him solo. Caveat emptor: Two songs have atrocious sound. (Frank John Hadley)

John Lee Hooker is in my opinion the first true Detroit rock and roll artist that follows in a fine tradition of the Stooges, The MC5, and Motown. The music on this album is probably the heaviest type of blues of ever heard. A little more ferocius, and darker than most stuff I’ve heard. If you like your blues squeeky clean like something Eric Clapton would record these days then you’ll probably feel like the reviewer below that only gave this album two stars. But if you’re like me and can just appreciate an individual with a lot of soul then this album will shake the foundation. (by Hippie Smell)

JohnLeeHooker03Personnel:
John Lee Hooker (vocals, guitar)
+
Eddie Kirkland (guitar on 09., 11. + 12.)
Bob Thurman (piano on 04.+12.)
Tom Whitehead (drums on 12.

BackCover1Tracklist:
01. Walkin’ The Boogie 2.44
(with double-tracked vocal and speeded up guitar – recorded April 24th, 1952)
02. Love Blues 3.01
(Recorded April 24th, 1952)
03. Union Station Blues 2.58
(Recorded circa April, 1951)
04. It’s My Own Fault (a.k.a. Baby, I Prove My Love to You)  2.59
(Recorded circa 1952)
05. Leave My Wife Alone 2.48
(Recorded circa April, 1951)
06. Ramblin’ By Myself 3.20
(Recorded circa April, 1951)
07. Sugar Mama 3.16
(Recorded April 24th, 1952)
08. Down at the Landing 2.56
(Recorded April 24th, 1952)
09. Louise 3.06
(Recorded circa April, 1951)
10. Ground Hog Bluesb2.58
(Recorded circa April, 1951)
11. High Priced Woman 2.44
(Recorded April, 1951)
12. Women and Money 2.53
(Recorded 1952)

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John Lee Hooker – On Campus (1964)

JohnLeeHookerOnCampusFCVee Jay’s 1964 album John Lee Hooker “On Campus” is titled to sound like a live recording but it isn’t. As part of the Collectables Vee Jay reissue campaign, these 12 tracks originally tried to capitalize on Hooker’s emergence on the coffeehouse/college tours he was involved in at the time.

This is an electric album that contains excellent material from Hooker, even though the occasional background singers get in the way, attempting to modernize his gritty blues with a smoother soul sound. (by Al Campbell)

JohnLeeHookerOnCampus1Electric blues from John Lee Hooker released in the mid 60s on Vee Jay – all Hooker originals that are riveting and soul shaking as you could hope for.

Although it’s titled John Lee Hooker On Campus, it’s more a reflecting of the time than a literal description of what you’ll hear here – the folk and blues revival was in full swing and holding college audiences rapt, but it’s not a concert recording, but Hooker in excellent 60s form. (by dusty groove)

JohnLeeHookerOnCampusBC

Personnel:
John Lee Hooker (guitar, vocals)
+
a bunch of unknown studio musicians

JohnLeeHookerOnCampusAlternateFCs
Alternate frontcovers

Tracklist:
01. I´m Leaving (Hooker) 2.12
02. Love Is A Burning Thing (Hooker) 2.39
03. Birmingham Blues (Hooker) 2.54
04. I Want To Shout (Hooker) 2.25
05. Don´t Look Back (Hooker/Robinson/White) 2.56
06. I Want To Hug You (Hooker/Ling) 2.29
07. Poor Me (Hooker) 2.41
08. I Want To Ramble (Hooker) 3.11
09. Half A Stranger (Sykes) 4.24
10. My Grinding Mill (Hooker) 3.11
11. Bottle Up And Go (Hooker) 2.25
12. One Way Tichet (Hooker) 3.27

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