John Lee Hooker

Masters of the Country Blues

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Masters of the Country Blues: John Lee Hooker and Furry Lewis, filmed in black-and-white sometime in the early '60s, is a little uneven in its balance, in that Hooker only gets about 16 minutes while Lewis gets the balance of the program. On the other hand, Lewis is so extrovert and his approach so visually fluid that no one should complain -- this is a chance to see a real guitar virtuoso at work. If anyone ever wondered why Lewis was so well liked and respected, they'll find the answer here -- his fingers move so fast over the fretboard that they seem to dance, quickly and gracefully. His songs include "Kassie Jones" (or "Casey Jones"), arguably the greatest song he ever performed, in a spellbinding rendition, but his versions of "East St. Louis Blues" and "Kansas City" are also here. Hooker's best known song, "Boom Boom," is present, and he's interesting to watch and hear, though he plays with far less dexterity than Lewis. The film is all in black-and-white with some minor flaws in the elements but good sound -- there is no introduction and no attribution of sources.