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Canned Heat

with John Lee Hooker - Carnegie Hall 1971

Review by Gary Hill

This is quite an interesting live album. I mean, you can tell that just by knowing that Canned Heat is joined on stage by blues legend John Lee Hooker. The set does not disappoint, that’s for sure. I will say that the sound quality is not perfect, but that’s sort of a feature of the timeframe and the fact that it’s a live recording. Even then, it’s quite listenable.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Framed

With a dedication to Abbie Hoffman, this old time rock and roller is fun. It seems a little distorted in terms of sound quality. Still, that might not be the recording so much as the stage mix.

Let’s Work Together
Here’s a high energy, smoking hot bluesy rocker. This is a good fun for sure. The instrumental sections on the opener were good, but the ones here blow those away. In some ways, this feels to me like what you might get if you mixed Cream with The Yardbirds.
Hey Babe
John Lee Hooker comes to the stage for this pure blues number. It starts slow and stripped back. Gradually they add more sound and intensity to the mix. This is very much a Hooker showcase, and an old school blues stomper.
Shake n Boogie

Here we get a shuffling boogie based blues rocker. I like this one a lot. It’s one of the best on the whole set, really. The guitar solo section almost makes me think of Led Zeppelin in some ways. This is an extended jam that gets quite intense at times. The jam gets pretty exploratory later and shifts to a drum solo.

Back Door Man

This stomper gets a great live rendering here. It gets into some pretty exploratory sections later in the mix.

Bonus track
   
Tease Me Baby
An old school blues number, this is quite an effective piece. I love the vocal delivery, the entire musical arrangement and the guitar soloing. Somehow this feels like the kind of thing the Doors might have done.
 
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