blues Archive

DVD Review: John Lee Hooker – Cook With the Hook: Live in 1974

“Do you wanna boogie? Do you wanna cook with the Hook?” So implores John Lee Hooker on the audio track of the DVD menu on Cook With the Hook: Live in 1974. A medium-sized festival (historical accounts say 6000 fans, but the video suggests more like a thousand) in Massachusetts was the setting for an

DVD Review: Johnny Winter – Live From Japan

There’s no point in tip-toeing around it: blues guitarist Johnny Winter is old and frail. The cumulative effects of decades of drug and alcohol abuse/addiction (happily, he’s clean now) coupled with the medical problems associated with albinism make the odds unlikely that Winter would even still walk this Earth at age 68. But indeed he

Skinny Legs and All – Despite Their Age, They’re Not Kidding Around

You can learn a lot about a band by attending their pre-show sound check. Plenty of veteran bands give short shrift to this pre-show ritual, and they pay the price in poor sound. But Asheville-based blues/funk/soul band Skinny Legs and All take sound check very seriously. There’s no clowning around, no time wasted noodling. In

DVD Review: Johnny Winter — Live Through the 70s

The DVD kicks off with a true oddity, a performance that is bizarre in any number of ways. This excellent-quality Danish TV clip from 1970 finds Winter playing with his original blues rhythm section (Tommy Shannon on bass and Uncle John Turner on drums), but they don’t kick off with a blues tune. Instead they

Album Review: Johnny Winter — The Johnny Winter Anthology

First things first. Whenever a career-spanning anthology crosses this reviewer’s desk, three questions immediately come to mind: Has this artist’s career been summarized on disc before? How’s the sound quality on this disc? Does the package include some sort of added value? The answers to these questions (and to the further questions they suggest) pave

Album Review: BB King and His Orchestra — Live

The opening sonic salvo of B.B. King Orchestra and His Orchestra Live might be jarring for longtime B.B. King listeners. A Vegasy revue number, “B.B.’s Theme” really has little to do with the master’s style of music, as instead a vampy track that serves notice that the band is tight. The toastmaster/bandleader Calvin Owens shouts

Album Review: John Lee Hooker — Anthology: 50 Years

John Lee Hooker was never the smoothest of bluesmen. While he had no qualms about going electric (in fact nearly all of his celebrated work features electric guitar) he made few concessions to modern song structure. His songs — beginning with the classic “Boogie Chillen'” in 1948 — worked in the Delta blues style of

Album Review: BB King — One Kind Favor

Rock and roll has generally been viewed primarily as a young man’s (well, mostly men’s’) game. Pete Townshend wrote the immortal phrase “hope I die before I get old” over 40 years ago, and he didn’t die (thank goodness). Blues, on the other hand, has been kinder to older artists. The blues boom of the