Search - John Lee Hooker :: Live At The Cafe Au Go-Go (And Soledad Prison)

Live At The Cafe Au Go-Go (And Soledad Prison)
John Lee Hooker
Live At The Cafe Au Go-Go (And Soledad Prison)
Genres: Blues, Pop, Rock
 
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

Simply one of the greatest live blues recordings ever. Hooker plays alone at Soledad, yet the real thrill is hearing him backed at Greenwich Village's Café Au-Go-Go in 1966 by Muddy Waters and his band, including pianist O...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: John Lee Hooker
Title: Live At The Cafe Au Go-Go (And Soledad Prison)
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Mca
Original Release Date: 11/19/1996
Release Date: 11/19/1996
Album Type: Live
Genres: Blues, Pop, Rock
Styles: Contemporary Blues, Delta Blues, Traditional Blues, Regional Blues, Detroit Blues, Electric Blues
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 008811153724, 0008811153724

Synopsis

Amazon.com essential recording
Simply one of the greatest live blues recordings ever. Hooker plays alone at Soledad, yet the real thrill is hearing him backed at Greenwich Village's Café Au-Go-Go in 1966 by Muddy Waters and his band, including pianist Otis Spann, unsung harmonica giant George Smith, Francis Clay on drums, and guitarists Sammy Lawhorn and Luther Johnson. All are at the height of their abilities, but it's Hooker who works like a hoodoo conjurer, making misery rain down in "Seven Days" and "When My First Wife Left Me." This August night's reading of "I'm Bad Like Jesse James" ranks among the most intimidating vocal performances ever taped. His guitar and baritone singing sink to rarely heard depths of the blues--that secret place in the music (known only to its absolute masters) where it becomes an elemental force. --Ted Drozdowski

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CD Reviews

Not for the faint of heart...
bungalow-will | IOWA! | 11/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"...but incredible nonetheless. There is a penomenon that occurs when listening to John Lee Hooker's music that can best be described with this analogy: Listening to a good Hooker set is kind of like a night at the bar after about 8-9 rounds of Guinness. There is no way in hell that you are going to make that 10th round a Smirnoff Ice. That's why I have never really been able to include any John Lee tunes on any mix tapes or compilations. Really, what are you going to follow them up with? This disc is no exception, and I would even say that this might be the best intro to Hooker for the money. The Cafe Au-Go-Go portion is nothing less than smoking. 'Bad Like Jesse James' pretty much speaks for itself, and is absolutely BEGGING to be included on next season's Sopranos soundtrack. 'Heartaches and Misery' is scorching, and 'When My First Wife Left Me' is so sick that you should have to have written permission to listen to it. And, are you kidding me, Muddy-freaking-Waters is playing guitar on these tracks?
But as astounding as the first part of this disc is, the second part, recorded live at Soledad Prison, might be the real cream of the crop. You can feel the gears being shifted as Hook's band kicks into 'What's the Matter Baby,' which in itself blows away all the tracks on the first part of the album. The very next track, 'Lucille,' only makes things worse with its nasty guitar solo. But the real gem of the entire record is the second to last track, 'It Serves Me Right to Suffer.' When Hooker starts complaining of a broken heart, you almost expect it. But when he explains that his doctor has written him a "destription" for "gin-milk-cream&alcohol" to soothe his nerves, you just know everything is going to be all right.
The bottom line is this is a collection of two classic performances by one of the great performers of the 20th Century (regardless of genre). Snatch it up NOW, you will not be disappointed! R.I.P. Johhny Lee!..."
Jail House Blues
wednightprayermeeting | Bellview, CA | 09/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"THis album smokes. Half was recorded at the Cafe Au-Go-Go with Muddy Waters in support. The other half at Soledad Prison. And you should here these convicts! The Boogie Man gets 'em all fired up with steaming versions of "Boom Boom" and "I'm Bad Like Jesse James."These versions of "One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer," "Serves Me Right To Suffer," and "Seven Days" rank among Hooker's finest.Intense live blues."
Wonderfully gritty live blues
Docendo Discimus | Vita scholae | 11/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This CD reissue combines John Lee Hooker's "Live At The Cafe Au Go-Go" album with five songs from his "Live At Soledad Prison" LP (the other two songs from that LP had John Lee Hooker, jr. doing lead vocals, which is probably why they aren't included).

The eight Cafe Au Go-Go-tracks feature Muddy Waters and his band backing John Lee Hooker, and Hooker performs some of his best songs in rough, tough arrangements, topped by his hoarse, expressive baritone voice.
It's a little bit unusual to hear the Hook backed by a full band, but the arrangements work very well, and Hooker is in no way overwhelmed by the presence of three more guitarists (Muddy Waters, Sammy Lawhorn and Luther Johnson), and pianist Otis Spann.

Highlights include a truly menacing "I'm Bad Like Jesse James", a swaggering, swinging "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer", a tremendous, slow "I'll Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive", and a soulful "When My First Wife Left Me", to which Otis Spann adds some truly magnificent piano playing.
On the Soledad tracks, which are also band-backed, Hooker lays down great renditions of "What's The Matter Baby" and "It Serves Me Right To Suffer", with the twin lead guitars of Luther Tucker and Charlie Grimes smouldering behind him.
"Lucille" is a great, mid-tempo boogie, and "Bang Bang Bang Bang" an alternative version of "Boom Boom", which rocks every bit as much as the MTV version did twenty years later.

If your idea of what the blues should sound like is latter-day B.B. King or Robert Cray, this might not be your thing. These recordings are far from polished and very much full of grit, but if you like your blues raw and ragged, this is indeed the real deal. One of the finest, most autenthic live blues records I have ever heard."