Canned Heat

The Boogie Assault: Live in Australia

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"We'd like to take you back to Woodstock," Bob Hite peremptorily announces on the opening of this live set, whisking listeners back in time to Canned Heat's heyday. A dozen years had since passed, and the world was about to be inundated by new wave, but down under in Australia in 1981, the '60s still reigned supreme. Beyond drummer Fito de la Parra, who joined the group back in 1970, the rest of Heat's members were recent arrivals -- Michael Halby, Rick Kellogg, Ernie Rodriguez and Walter Trout -- the latter would take over lead vocals in a few months' time after Hite's fatal heart attack. Here, however, he sounds fit as a fiddle, and the band is raring to go on and on. And they do just that on "Refried Hockey Boogie" which, at 23-plus minutes sprawled gloriously across the entire second side of the original vinyl album, which was released in 1981 by the Bedrock label (the 1984 date listed in myriad discographies refers to the CD reissue). Side one comprised enthusiastic run-throughs of Heat's three hits, an exhilarating take on the title track of their recently released Kings of the Boogie studio set, and a stomping version of "Amphetamine Annie," like "Refried" from Heat's 1968 Boogie with Canned Heat album. This modern reissue adds three more numbers performed that day, "Hell's on Down the Line" and "Chicken Shack Boogie" both from the Kings set, and the apt curtain closer, the bluesy "So Long." It was one heck of a show, which is why the album has remained on the shelves in so many parts of the world. Their glory days were long gone, but the band boogied on like the '60s never ended.

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