John Lee Hooker

The Very Best of John Lee Hooker [Charly]

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A double-CD set taken from a variety of settings, with very little from his early formative days, this 40-track program from John Lee Hooker has a lot going for it, but also includes material that is debatable as to whether it belongs on a "Very Best" collection. Because Hooker recorded on so many different labels in studios far and wide, it would be impossible to compile a hits package, unless it were a single disc with ten of his most recognizable songs. Of the ones that made the cut on this offering, the strongest are "Dimples," "I'm in the Mood," "Boogie Chillen," "Hobo Blues," "Boom Boom," "Crawling King Snake," "I'm Mad Again," and "It Serves Me Right to Suffer." The remainder of the material is culled from relatively lesser known tunes, all with Hooker's typical swagger and deep throated voice, and programmed well enough to command your attention and keep it. The Charly reissues are pretty reliable, and this one can easily be recommended with the caveat that this is still a small sample of the gargantuan repertoire that Hooker wielded.

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