Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Moon Is Rising
Genres: Blues, Pop, R&B
This 14-song collection from Arhoolie Records is an excellent showcase of Earl Hooker's masterful guitar work. Though not much of a singer, the bluesman made up for it with some of the best guitar playing to ever come ou... more »
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This 14-song collection from Arhoolie Records is an excellent showcase of Earl Hooker's masterful guitar work. Though not much of a singer, the bluesman made up for it with some of the best guitar playing to ever come out of Chicago. Hooker was from Mississippi, and the Delta style substantially influenced his playing as well; this can be heard throughout The Moon Is Rising, especially on the title track, which opens the collection. Hooker's guitar playing is excellent throughout with a sharp, clean sound that cuts through the mix and catches the listener's attention immediately. There's a nice mix of styles and tempos on this CD, from mid-tempo foot-tappers like "Earl's Blues" and "New Riviera" to slow, almost lazy blues such as "Strung Out Woman Blues" and "I'm Your Main Man." However, it's on the improvisational pieces--"Dust My Broom" and "Frosty"--that Hooker really shines, skillfully matching technique with taste. --Genevieve Williams
Top of the Heap
Curtiss Clarke | Calgary, Alberta Canada | 09/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Arhoolie isn't a label that releases bad recordings. Of course this one by the great Earl "Zebedee" Hooker is not one to change that fact one bit.
Here is Earl in his later years (TB took his life at 40 in 1970) but you wouldn't know it from this recording. Buddy Guy had recommended Earl to Chris Strachwitz (owner of Arhoolie records) and fortunately, Chris acted on Buddy's recommendation.
The first part of this CD contains Earl in California late in 1968 demonstrating his spectacular mastery of Robert Nighhawks' (Robert Lee McCoy) fluid slide guitar technique in standard tuning (Earl was tutored by Nighthawk when he moved to Chicago in the 1940's - ultimately Earl eclipsed Nighthawk for sheer virtuosity) in tandem with Gino Skaggs (bass), Steve Miller (organ - not the famous guitar player), and Bobby Johnson (drums). These cuts are mid-length jams with Earl getting to do what he could not when he waxed singles like "Tanya", "You-Shook Me" - Muddy Waters vocal, and "Frog-Hop", for Chess records in the late 50's, early 60's when recordings were limited to about 3 minutes.
But the real strength of this CD are the live titles recorded by Dick Shurman in a Chicago club, late 60's, where Earl, surrounded by his fans at Pepper's lounge, just blew up the building. (Thank you Dick.) Jimi Hendrix must have loaded his drawers when he heard this stuff. Here was what Buddy Guy was referring to when he told Chris Strachwitz to check out Earl Hooker. When Earl showed up in a club, the other guitar players got off the stage immediately. If you don't believe it, hear out "Improvisations on Frosty" - with an apology to Albert Collins, and "Improvisations on Dust My Broom" - Elmore, bless you.
On these live titles, Earl is accompanied by none other than Eddie Taylor (from Jimmy Reed's band), Dave Meyers (from Little Walter's Aces), and Dog Man Jackson. This is the top of the heap. Get rid of those stale Page and Clapton discs and hear it from the master. You'll never forget it.
King of the Electric Slide Guitar
D. B Pepper | Plainview, NY United States | 06/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Earl Hooker was the king of the electric slide guitar. He was better than Robert Nighthawk, Muddy Waters and even Elmore James. He was an extremely versatile player. The two extended improvisations on this disc are quite excellent. My all-time favorite Hooker track, "Tanya", is not on this album. The classic "End of The Blues" isn't on this disc, either. Instead, we get some rare Hooker tracks. "Hooker 'N' Steve" is immense fun. It's a real shame that more people, especially guitar players, don't know who Earl Hooker is. Although he's on one of the American Folk Blues Festival discs, his performance is sloppy and uneventful. I really wish there were some footage of the man in his prime."