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Hooker

by: John Lee Hooker

Album Artwork

John Lee Hooker
Hooker (Boxed Set)

(Shout! Factory)

In a beautiful 4-CD set that both begins and ends with his most well known hit “Boogie Chillin,” blues legend John Lee Hooker is given all due respect with a 85-track package that serves as a true tribute to this great player, who at one time was ready to forsake his music for a career in baseball.

An included 60-page book tells Hooker’s life story, along with some pretty cool photographs and of course, all the skinny on the multitude of tracks that represent Hooker’s body of work between 1948 and 1999. When John Lee died of natural causes on June 21, 2001 at the age of 83, he left behind a catalog of music that will bring joy to blues lovers for decades to come. The very best of that work is collected here, in this boxed set.

From his acoustic solo work like “Sally Mae,” “Hobo Blues” and “Catfish Blues,” to his work with folks like Eddie Kirkland, Louisiana Red, Vernon “Bogie Woogie Red” Harrison, Otis Finch and Bob Thurman during the ‘50’s and ‘60’s, the music takes hold of your spirit, your heart, and your dancing shoes. And what a prolific songwriter, the build of these songs were penned by Hooker himself. Songs like “Dimples,” “Tupelo Blues,” “Boom Boom,” “Big Legs Tight Skirt,” “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” and “I Got My Eyes On You,” all classics, are all John Lee Hooker compositions.

Disc four features some of the amazing collaborations Hooker recorded during the 80’s and 90’s, with folks like Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray, Carlos Santana, Ry Cooder, John Hammond, Van Morrison, Jimmie Vaughan and Eric Clapton. “Kiddio,” featuring Hooker with Charles Brown, is classic, and his duet with Los Lobos on “Dimples’ is great fun.

There are a lot of choices out there as far as boxed sets, but none better than this one. The very best of a true American original, a blues giant, a man with an infectious smile and a totally original style, the one and only John Lee Hooker.

- Michael Buffalo Smith

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