Various Artists

From Clarksdale to Heaven: Remembering John Lee Hooker

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For the first of two tribute albums to John Lee Hooker, executive producer Arnie Goodman of Blue Storm Music has assembled an impressive list of British musicians from the 1960s who helped spark the '60s blues revival that was responsible for the ascension of Hooker (among others) into legendary status. The biggest name on his own is Jeff Beck, who plays guitar on "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" and "Hobo Blues," but other notable figures include Cream's Jack Bruce, Leo Lyons and Ric Lee from Ten Years After, Procol Harum's Gary Brooker, ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, former Fleetwood Mac leader Peter Green, and Gary Moore. The performers are reverent toward Hooker's music, maintaining its relentless rhythmic power and even at times re-creating the master's haunting mumble of a voice. The set is not entirely given over to the Brits, however, as it opens with "I Want to Hug You," sung by Hooker's daughter, Zakiya, and ends with Hooker himself, accompanied by Booker T. Jones and Randy California, among others, performing a previously unreleased "Red House" that was cut for a Jimi Hendrix tribute album. There is also a newly written song ("The Business") penned by Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter and Bay Area musician Greg Anton that was earmarked for a Hooker project never recorded due to his death. Such tracks provide some variety, but the strength of the album is still in the devoted performances of people like Beck and Green.

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