His Best Chess Sides (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection)

His Best Chess Sides (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection)

by John Lee Hooker

CD

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Overview

John Lee Hooker, as anyone with a decent-sized blues collection knows, recorded for a virtual parade of labels early in his career, including Chess, although his stays with the company were fairly brief. Hooker's best early recordings, most would agree, were issued on Modern and Vee-Jay, not Chess. Still, if the only Hooker extant consisted of his Chess sides, his greatness would be readily apparent. Approached not as a best-of but simply as one of many Hooker compilations, this 15-song disc is fine, leaning heavily on early-'50s material (the source for 11 of the songs). This is typical of his early work in its stress on his great guitar work, walking rhythms, and drumless arrangements (most of it is played solo). It's good stuff, even if much of it is derivative of things he recorded elsewhere, and the mike plainly catches him coughing on "Bluebird." The solo on "Leave My Wife Alone" is almost avant-garde in conception, a series of plucked runs up and down the scale with little relation to convention, even by blues standards. Closing the set are four much more modern-sounding cuts from the mid-'60s, the "I'm in the Mood"/"Let's Go Out Tonight" single and a couple of cuts from the Real Folk Blues LP (including his standard "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer").

Product Details

Release Date: 06/17/1997
Label: Chess
UPC: 0076732938324
catalogNumber: 9383

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