Canned Heat

Far Out

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With so many Canned Heat collections existing, Far Out (2001) stands as one of the more interesting, as it consisted primarily of gray-area material taken from Live at the Topanga Corral (1971) [aka Live at the Kaleidoscope 1969 (2000)] and Vintage (1969). Both long-players were marred by somewhat sonically challenged audio from the band when they were still motivated by authentic R&B rather than extended boogie-based psychedelia. There are also a handful of key album tracks from Canned Heat (1967), Boogie With Canned Heat (1968), Living the Blues (1968), Hallelujah (1969), and Future Blues (1970). It can be reasonably argued that Canned Heat Cookbook (1969) -- which was actually little more than an anthology -- should be mentioned, as it was the first 12" to contain "Going Up the Country." The personnel centered on Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson (guitar/vocals), Larry "The Mole" Taylor (bass), Henry "Sunflower" Vestine (guitar), and Bob "The Bear" Hite (vocals). Frank Cook (drums) left prior to Boogie With Canned Heat and was replaced by Aldolfo "Fido" de la Parra (drums), while Harvey Mandel (guitar/vocals) also came and went circa 1969-1971 during Vestine's brief hiatus. Their few hits are present and accounted for, including the remake of Wilbert Harrison's "Let's Work Together," the familiar single version of "On the Road Again," and the cautionary uppers anthem "Amphetamine Annie," as well as covers of Muddy Waters' "Rollin' and Tumblin'" and Robert Johnson's "Dust My Broom." "Big Road Blues," "Rollin' and Tumblin'," "Got My Mojo Working," "Dimples," "Spoonful," and "Pretty Thing" hail from a 1966 session with Johnny Otis as producer. Initially, these were issued on the independent Janus label under the Vintage moniker. "Wish You Would," "Sweet Sixteen," and "Bullfrog Blues" can be accurately traced to recordings from the Kaleidoscope in mid- to late 1968. While this anthology may not be for everyone, enthusiasts and collectors will also be impressed by harder to locate rarities such as "Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)," which was available as a 45-only side.

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