John Lee Hooker

Rare Performances 1960-1984 [Video/DVD]

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

This solid half-hour collection of clips presents John Lee Hooker in a variety of settings, playing both with a band and as a solo artist. The 1964 full-band clips from the BBC are the best, particularly a percolating "Boom Boom." Also good are a couple of songs (again with a full band) from the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival; a few tunes filmed in Seattle in 1970 just have Hooker alone with his guitar (as do a couple of performances from 1960). Particularly after having seen so much concert footage in which blues musicians really ham it up onstage, the viewer is really impressed with how little Hooker needs to move to get his presence across. He's able to hold listeners spellbound while remaining stationary with his guitar, aware that his intensity, growling vocals, and pure musicianship are enough to do the job.