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American bluesmen were massively popular in England in the 1960s, and many of them toured the country using local pickup bands. The Groundhogs were just a little rougher and a little more angular than their competition, which made them a good fit for Hooker, who chose them as his backing band for his spring 1965 tour of the UK. The collaboration was so fertile Hooker proposed they record an album together. While some of these songs later surfaced with overdubbed horn parts, this is the first time the Hooker & The Hogs sessions have been heard in full. You can feel the symbiosis at work. Hooker gave the Groundhogs a depth of heart and soul that they couldn’t access on their own, while the young Londoners enlivened the old bluesman and spiked his classic songs with rock ‘n’ roll grit. The American bands Hooker played with always emphasized the element of laziness in his rhythms, but there is no trace of laziness here. This is hot, surging, heavy music, from “Mai Lee” to “No One Please Me But You” to “It’s Raining Here.” The best tracks are spiced with tricks from keyboardist Tom Parker, whether it’s the wheezy organ of “Waterfront” or the seasick fills of “Little Dreamer.”


Born: August 22, 1917 in Clarksdale, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

He was beloved worldwide as the king of the endless boogie, a genuine blues superstar whose droning, hypnotic one-chord grooves were at once both ultra-primitive and timeless. But John Lee Hooker recorded in a great many more styles than that over a career that stretched across more than half a century. "The Hook" was a Mississippi native who became the top gent on the Detroit blues circuit in the years following World War II. The seeds for his eerily mournful guitar sound were planted by his stepfather,...
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