Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Blues, Pop
B.B. King calls Earl Hooker one of his favorite guitarists. Indeed, this late, underrecorded master of melody, rhythm, and especially slide was a giant whose renown was diminished by his premature death from tuberculosis a... more »
B.B. King calls Earl Hooker one of his favorite guitarists. Indeed, this late, underrecorded master of melody, rhythm, and especially slide was a giant whose renown was diminished by his premature death from tuberculosis at age 40 in 1970 and his relatively small number of recordings as a leader. Much of this CD features Hooker as a sideman, backing singers Lillian Offit, Harold Tidwell, and A.C. Reed. Too bad, because it's the instrumentals that make this disc worth owning. Hooker's slide is sweet and buttery on tunes like "The Leading Brand" and "Blues in D Natural." He tips up the tempo for his own arrangement of Junior Wells's theme song, which Hooker called "Rocking with the Kid." And his sly picking in organ-combo tunes like "The Bright Sound" and "Off the Hook" are textbook blues guitar genius. --Ted Drozdowski
In The Time Of The Chicago Blues Explosion
Alfred Johnson | boston, ma | 11/21/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have spend a fair amount of time in this space running through the legends of the Chicago blues explosion that hit its high point in the period just after World War II and continued to the advent of serious rock `n' roll in the mid-1950s, a period that saw the mass migration from the southern farms and plantations of blacks (and poor whites) to the north in search of better paying, and mainly, unionized industrial jobs. Thus, such names as Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and so on have gotten plenty of ink here. But those names hardly exhaust the sheer mass of blues artists who fled the South (with a stopover down river in Memphis in many cases) to make their names on Chicago's Maxwell Street. The name Earl Hooker, under review here figures prominently, if not famously, as part of that plethora of talent.
Naturally, in my attempts in this space to link up the names of the blues artists who I fell in love with in my youth I have used many sources, or have been led to them in various ways. The case of Earl Hooker is illustrative. I, some time ago, did a review of a documentary on the late Clifford Antone's Club Antone down in Austin, Texas where many of the great, then still standing blues artists who came of age in the 1950s found a second home, and an extended career. As part of that documentary coverage the name Earl Hooker, naturally enough, came up. And hence I went scurrying back to my archives to check his work out again. This, unfortunately, is the only album of his that I still possess after all these year but it is rather indicative of his style and is a good primer.
Outstanding here are the smoking "Will My Man Be Home Tonight", the classic "Calling All Blues", his signature and title track "Blue Guitar", and another smoking "Off The Hook". For a close look at the guys who jammed with the likes of Muddy and Howlin' Wolf, after hours when they got down and serious, here is a your first look