Gotham Golden Classics: The Rare Recordings

John Lee Hooker

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Gotham Golden Classics: The Rare Recordings Review

by AllMusic

These sides of Hooker's raw, electric blues guitar and freely-phrased, soulful vocals were recorded in 1951 for the Gotham label. Originally issued on 78s, tracks like "Wandering Blues," "Feed Her All Night" and "Mean Old Train" find Hooker firmly rooted in the blues tradition, drawing on classic musical and lyrical themes. The fact that Hooker performs unaccompanied throughout gives his music a gut-level intensity, his foot pounding out beats, his sometimes understated delivery sounding tortured and careless at once. In tracks like "House Rent Boogie" one can witness an example of Hooker's well-known boogie groove, a propulsive shuffle rhythm generated by playing a bass riff on the lowest string of the guitar. GOTHAM GOLDEN CLASSICS is a compelling collection of Hooker's solo performances.

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