Canned Heat

Turning Up the Heat

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For starters, this is a thoroughly dismissible package and is not recommended for anyone except hardcore "gotta have it all" collectors. The cover art, depicting the "classic" era of the band, is likewise dubious, as the contents of Turning Up the Heat (2000) rehash recordings that don't even feature the pictured "classic" lineup. Taken chronologically, the tracks "Big Road Blues," "Got My Mojo Working," and "Rollin' and Tumblin'" hail from the same Johnny Otis demos that were initially released as Vintage (1971), but have continued to resurface on sloppy compilations. "Sweet Sixteen," "I Wish You Would," and "Bullfrog Blues" were derived from the semi-legit bootleg Live at the Topanga Corral (1971), a performance platter actually recorded at a venue called the Kaleidoscope in Los Angeles circa 1968. They too have subsequently circulated under a myriad of monikers. The remainder hail from an early-'80s re-formation with Walter Trout replacing the recently deceased Bob "The Bear" Hite. Sadly missing is the extended 20-plus minute reading of "Refried Hockey Boogie" from that set -- which all but saves what is otherwise an uninspired outing featuring "Going Up the Country," "Let's Work Together," and "On the Road Again." The latter is the saving grace of Turning Up the Heat, as it showcases Trout's fretwork. "Kings of the Boogie" is a fairly uneventful uptempo jam and is standard fare for this incarnation of the Heat, who are quite obviously working mostly off of name recognition rather than creating meaningful music. The same holds for "Hell's on Down the Line," as it is yet another rote write-off. Parties seeking a worthwhile Canned Heat anthology are directed toward either the single-CD On the Road Again (1989) or double-disc Uncanned! The Best of Canned Heat (1994) for worthwhile overviews of hits and key album cuts.

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