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A milestone in the careers of all involved. For the Hook, this was the venerable bluesman's first time on the pop-album charts. For Canned Heat, it was, sadly, the last recording with Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson, who'd be dead of a drug overdose just months later. This 1971 double LP is here on 2 CDs, and it's a blues-boogie masterpiece.
This 1971 collaboration between primal one-part-Delta/one-part-Detroit singer-guitarist John Lee Hooker and Southern California blues revivalists Canned Heat works in large part because all parties involved are a little off. Hooker, the most unsystematic of the major bluesmen of his generation, isn't a good fit for disciplined players; rather, he requires sidemen who play by feel. In harp player-guitarist Alan Wilson, the Crawling King Snake found a particularly sympathetic foil; sadly, Wilson died shortly after these sessions were completed. Roughly divided into spare, gritty Delta exercises and full-on boogie stomps featuring the full band, "i"Hooker 'n' Heat is surely one of Canned Heat's crowning moments, which isn't saying that much. But that it stands as a milestone in Hooker's oeuvre is quite a statement indeed! --Steven Stolder