Canned Heat

Kings of the Boogie

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Formed by three avid blues record collectors, Canned Heat reformatted the sound of those beloved old 78s into ragged electric guitar boogies that fit the gestalt of the Woodstock generation. Guitarist and harmonica player Alan Wilson, singer Bob Hite, and guitarist Henry Vestine took their record collecting seriously, lifting the quill section from Texas songster Henry Thomas' 1920s recording of "Bull Doze Blues" note for note to form the intro to "Going Up the Country," one of Canned Heat's most enduring songs. At its best, Canned Heat translated an enthusiasm for old blues into a bright, radio-friendly history lesson, and at its worst, it collapsed into being just another white blues boogie band. This set, originally released in 1981, was the last Canned Heat studio album to feature involvement from Hite, who was found dead from an apparent drug overdose on April 5 of that year, and it was also the last studio effort by the band for some seven years. It's actually a fairly energetic album, with the opener, "Kings of the Boogie," a cover of "So Fine," and a grinding "Dog House Blues" being the highlights, although nothing here will change anyone's take on this fairly one-dimensional band. Kings of the Boogie has also been released under the title Dog House Blues.

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