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John Lee Hooker- Rare Performances 1960-1984

 
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  • Artist: John Lee Hooker Publisher: Vestapol
    Hard Copy   $24.95  Item Number:  Vestapol 13035

    John Lee Hooker- Rare Performances 1960-1984

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    Description

    John Lee Hooker is one of the foremost blues performers of the postwar period. He is in actuality a Mississippi country bluesman and his music has always been firmly grounded in the traditional blues of his native state. He has remained true to its fundamental principles throughout a professional career of more than five decades. Whether playing solo in 1960 or with the Muddy Waters Band in the same year, or with his touring bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s, John Lee Hooker's genius for writing and performing magnificent, intense and emotionally potent blues can be seen in all its glory in this one hour video collection of rare performances.

    Titles include: Maudie, Tupelo, Mississippi, It's My Own Fault, Come Back Baby, Boom Boom, I'm Leaving, Hobo blues, I'll Never Get Out of These Blues Alive, It Serves Me Right To Suffer, You Looking Good Again Tonight, So Cold in Chicago, One Bourbon One Scotch One Beer.

    Running Time: 60 minutes

    Review: Rare Performances 1960-1984 opens with a 1960 set recorded on a bare, dark stage as John Lee Hooker sings Maudie and Tupelo, Mississippi; in a concession to the folk audience, Hooker performs on an acoustic guitar, lessening the power of his playing and restricting the use of his patented bursts of guitar lines. It's My Own Fault and Come Back Baby follow, taken from the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival. With the Muddy Waters Band backing him, Hooker's guitar is virtually inaudible, but his singing is right on. Unfortunately, the camera is tight on Hooker and there are only brief shots of pianist Otis Spann and the rest of Waters' musicians. 

    Boom Boom and I'm Leaving date from a 1964 BBC version of Shindig, with Hooker seeming to have a good time playing for the dancers. The visual quality on 1969's Hobo Blues isn't very good, but the footage provides a rare opportunity to watch Hooker perform in an informal setting for a black audience, supported by a rhythm section that lays down a basic groove. I'll Never Get Out of These Blues Alive, It Serves Me Right To Suffer, and another version of Boom Boom are from 1970 and have a documentary feel (they appear to come from the same ethnomusicology project that provided material for Vestapol videos on Son House, Gary Davis, and Lightnin' Hopkins). While the setting is sparse, the music is the best on the tape; sitting alone with his electric guitar, Hooker rolls back the years to Detroit, 1948. Staccato lines fly out of his guitar like bursts from an automatic weapon and his singing has dark power and intensity; a third version of Boom Boom cuts the other two to shreds.

    The final three performances on the video (You Looking Good Tonight, So Cold In Chicago, and One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer) find Hooker entering his "grand old man of electric blues" phase. Recorded for public television projects, the songs feature Hooker backed by a full band; while well performed, they lack the personal focus and intensity that Hooker brings to the best of the earlier clips. - Peter R. Aschoff/Living Blues

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