John Lee Hooker

Original Folk Blues of John Lee Hooker

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This interesting release re-creates the look and contents of the 1964 Kent Records LP called Original Folk Blues of John Lee Hooker right down to the original sleeve art, and ups the ante by including a previously unreleased version of "Let Your Daddy Ride" as well as six other additional bonus tracks. Most of these cuts were recorded with Bernie Besman in Detroit in fascinatingly primitive fashion between 1948 and 1954, and were then shipped to the Bihari Brothers' Modern Records imprint for release as singles. Included here are Hooker's first versions of "Boogie Chillen'," "Crawlin' King Snake," and "Sally Mae," each of which is classic Hooker, as rough and raw as a Delta wind blowing shards of glass up the Detroit River. There are some odd experiments, too, like the spooky "Cold Chills," which features an absolutely huge-sounding organ played by Buddy Johnson and some eerie, multi-tracked vocals from Hooker, with the whole recording sounding like it was tracked in a massive cavern deep in the earth with a bank of thick fog rolling over everything. These Modern releases have appeared time and time again on various Hooker collections, but there is the feel of something special about this particular package. It's all ragged and delightfully unhinged, which is the only way to go with John Lee Hooker.

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