From the beginning of his career, John Lee Hooker recorded prolifically, sometimes for several labels at once, sometimes under a number of pseudonyms. That makes his discography a bit difficult for the collector to sort out, but if you want just one document of his early years, this is the anthology of choice, containing 24 sides from 1948 to 1954 that were issued on the Modern label. These, more than any other, are the recordings that did the most to establish the Hooker prototype -- the over-amplified electric guitar, the moody boogies, the stomping foot rhythms performed without a rhythm section (some sides feature accompaniment by Eddie Kirkland on second guitar). Contains his two most massive early hits, "Boogie Chillen" and "I'm in the Mood," as well as his oft-covered "Crawling Kingsnake." This one can get a bit similar-sounding over the course of two dozen tracks, but little other post-war electric blues can match the stark power here.
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger