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Chill Out

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Album Review

Chill Out isn't the superstar blow-out of John Lee Hooker's late-'80s albums, yet it retains that flavor. Featuring some extended soloing from Carlos Santana, Chill Out is filled with long blues workouts, all captured in pristine, state-of-the-art technology. Nothing on the disc captures the raw vitality of Hooker's prime material — it's all relaxed blues-rock jams. The clean, sterile production doesn't help the basically directionless music. Certainly nothing on Chill Out is outright bad; in fact, most of it is pleasant, yet few of the songs on the album warrant repeated listens. [The 2007 Shout! edition features a new remastering overhaul and two bonus tracks.]


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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