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Big Road Blues

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Album Review

This brief collection features some of the ragged song demos Canned Heat did for Johnny Otis in 1966 before they signed with Liberty Records and released their debut album in 1967. Featuring mostly covers of classic blues songs, the versions aren't bad at all, and while they lack some of the polish (using the word in a relative fashion) and shine of their classic releases, the energy and passion on display here is alluring. These tracks weren't officially released until 1970 when they appeared as a LP from Janus Records under the title Vintage Canned Heat. Since then they have appeared under a variety of different titles from different labels, often with a handful of live tracks from a 1968 show at the Kaleidoscope in Los Angeles tacked on for good measure.


Formed: 1966 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A hard-luck blues band of the '60s, Canned Heat was founded by blues historians and record collectors Alan Wilson and Bob Hite. They seemed to be on the right track and played all the right festivals (including Monterey and Woodstock, making it very prominently into the documentaries about both) but somehow never found a lasting audience. Certainly their hearts were in the right place. Canned Heat's debut album -- released shortly after their appearance at Monterey -- was every bit as deep into...
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