John Lee Hooker, guitar and vocals.
This CD was recorded live on November 8 and 9, 1962 at the club Sugar Hill in San Francisco and the selections have, up to this point, been unissued. Hooker presents a most intimate performance and one gets the feeling that they are sitting in his living room listening to history being made. The quality of the recording is outstanding.
Every cut on this offering of nineteen tunes is exceptionally riveting. He tunes the guitar asking the audience to forgive him and then launches into his composition, "Catfish Blues." Hooker covers traditional tunes such as "Jelly Jelly" and "You Don't Miss Your Water." Also included are the Hooker compositions, "Bottle Up and Go," "What's The Matter Baby," "Taxi Driver," "Crawlin" King Snake," "I Can't Hold On," and "Let's Get It On." Hooker performs an upbeat version of "What'd I Say," the Ray Charles tune, but most of the selections are brooding slow blues.
This excellent CD will be a revelation to those who have only experienced John Lee Hooker's more high energy, boogie-oriented material. This is Hooker reaching down deep into that ancient aching primal emotion which exemplifies the blues.
by Dorothy Hill
Jazz Now Interactive
Copyright Jazz Now, November 2002 issue, all rights reserved