John Lee Hooker ‎– Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive

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Tracklist Hide Credits

A1 Bumble Bee, Bumble Bee
Slide Guitar – Benny Rowe
A2 Hit The Road
A3 Country Boy
A4 Boogie With The Hook
A5 If You Take Care Of Me, I'll Take Care Of You
A6 (I Got) A Good 'Un
Guitar [Firey Guitar Work] – Steve MillerProducer – Bill Szymczyk
B1 T.B Sheets
B2 Letter To My Baby
Slide Guitar – Benny Rowe
B3 Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive
Vocals – Van Morrison
B4 Baby, I Love You
B5 Lonesome Mood

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Original sound recording made by MCA Records Inc.
Tracks A1 to A4, B1 to B3: (P) 1971 MCA Music Ltd.
Tracks A5, B4, B5: (P) 1970 EMI Music Publishing Ltd.
Tracks A6: (P) 1971 EMI Music Publishing Ltd.

Texts in back cover:

John Lee's standing as a blues giant may appear surprising considering his eccentric sens of timing, but graced with an outstanding voice and charisma, Hooker has not let formal conventions hamper him.
Mention to fans worldwide and you receive quite different examples of the Hooker they known: The solo boogie man, the sax-led combo leader, R & B singer, folk artist or front man to a blues-rock group. All are proof of Hooker's remarkable adaptability.
John Lee was born in the heart of Delta cotton country, on a farm near Clarksdale, Mississipi in August 1917. Father died young, and the large family was raised by his mother and step-father William Moore. (From whom Hooker's guitar style is largely derived.)
A farming existence was brightened by music, from the church or field-hollers, musicians or the gramophone. Like other kids, john listened, made his own instrumental and learned in a haphazard manner.
the country life did not appeal, the young John Lee preferred his guitar and the opportunities of the city. First to Memphis, in his teens where he sang with local gospel groups. Then north to Cincinatti and factory work. Finally to the motor city Detroit, where in 1943 war work had opened up employment for Negroes.
Married and with regular work, free time found Hooker playing wherever he could, solo or with his four-piece band. His style carried on the Delta tradition of intensity and rhythm, in line with the work of Tommy McClennan and Big Joe Williams.
A growing popularity was spotted by Elmer Barbee, a record shop owner, who made some dubs of Hooker to hawk around record companies. November, 1948 and John attired in an old overcoat, worn shoes plus stammer presented the dub to an intrigued Bernie Besman.
Operator of local label Sensation and record distributor, Besman gave Hooker a chance. The result was 'Boogie Chillen', a solo dance piece with a hypnotic rhythm. Leased to Modern Records of Los Angeles, it became reputedly a million seller! It certainly was in stark contrast to the sophisticated ballards and jump blues of the time.
Success was to continue with 'Hobo Blues', 'Wednesday Evening Blues', 'Crawling King Snake' and another million seller 'I'm In The Mood' in 1952. This period saw a constant flow of 78s, largely wit Hooker accompanying himself, with only his stomping feet recorded in support.
Though Besman supplied masters to Modern (who had Hooker's 'exclusive' contract) deals would be struck with other labels, plus John would record for anyone who paid. the result was a discography sprinkled with colorful pseudonyms and labels: 'Texas Slim' on King ('Stomp Boogie'); 'Delta John' on Regent ('Goin' Mad Blues'); 'Birmingham Sam & Magic Guitar' on Savoy ('Low Down Midnite Boogie'). for small fry labels like JVB and Staff to bigger fish like Chess.
Not all Hooker's records were solo, sides were made with piano and rhythm sections; quite a few with regular guitarist Eddie Kirkland, and later Sax-led combos. Hooker's timing, not the easiest to follow, did produce splendid examples of raucous R & B (Try 'Shake, Holler and Run' Modern).
These first five years are recognized as Hooker's finest, he was now to enter a new phase. Signing with the Chicago label Vee Jay in 1955, Hooker's rural urgency was toned down. The voice was to be emphasized more and the guitar reduced to necessary fills. Backed by musicians of the calibre of Eddie Taylor on guitar, the resulting light but swinging sound produced hit 45s with 'Dimples' (1956) and 'I Love You Honey' (1958)
Apart from such successes, the rock 'n' roll era was not kind to blues artist. The change in tastes led to less work and recording. A new audience however, sprung up amongst white college kids searching for America's musical roots. Hooker, put down his Les Paul for an acoustic, appeared at festivals such as Newport in 1960 and countless clubs singing the 'country' blues.
New recordings duly followed, with Hooker tracing his roots for Riverside with three acoustic sets, plus material for Vee Jay and Galaxy. Additionally, Vee Jay continued to pour out 45s for the jukebox. The folk records found themselves joined on the marketplace with Hooker backed by brass sections and vocal-groups! Vee Jay were rewarded for their nerve, with a catchy hit 'Boom Boom' in 1961.
Parallel with the new interest in the U.S. across the Atlantic there grew an equal enthusiasm among the young for R & B. As a member of the touring American Blues Festival package of 1962, Hooker gained a new legion of fans in Europe.
In Britain particularly, where 'Dimples' resurfaced as a chart hit in 1964, Hooker even appeared on 'Ready, Steady, Go'. His tours became a regular feature, followed by a barrage of Hooker releases in the shops, and no R & B group was without a Hooker number. (The Animals being the best example.) To cap it all, a fine album was recorded in London in 1965, with Tony McPhee and The Groundhoges (Verve/Xtra).
With the demise of Vee Jay, Hooker signed to the New York ABC group of labels. A regular supply of albums was to follow over the next decade, with ABC experimenting different backings with Hooker: 'It Serves Me Right To Suffer' (Impulse, 1965) with a jazz rhythm section; 'Live At The Cafe Au-Go-Go' (Bluesway, 1966) with Muddy Water Band; 'Urban Blues' (1967) with Chicago Bluesmen. 1968 saw 'Simply The Truth' with New York sessionmen.
Split-up from his wife in 1969, Hooker decide to start afresh in sunnier California. A new blue boom was underway and Hooker was to be kept busy. It is from this period that this compilation is taken.
'If You Take Care Of Me', 'Baby I Love You' and 'Lonesome Mood' are taken from the Bluesway LP 'If You Miss 'Im...I Got 'Im'. Recorded in Los Angeles in May 1969, Hooker is joined by noted Chicago slide-guitarist and cousin, Earl Hooker. Along with Jeff Carp on Harmonica and Johnny 'Big Moose' Walker on keyboards, the album finds Hooker in good voice and gets a solid support. Earl showcasing his wah-wah talents, was sadly to die soon after of TB.
A year later, the commercial success of Hooker's collaboration with Canned Heat, The 'Hooker 'n' Heat' Double, spur ABC to try and repeat that success with 'Endless Boogie'. A double-album also, where 'Hooker 'n' Heat' was a celebration of Hooker's past, the 'Endless' set used John as the centerpiece of a contemporary rock album.
Recorded in San Francisco over three days in November, 1970, John was surrounded by blues loving rock musicians. Amongst them, Steve Miller, Jesse Davis, Mark Naftalin and future Clapton sidemen Carl Radle and Jim Gordon. Largely, a jam session, the best track is featured here, 'I Got A Good 'Un' with firey guitar work from Steve Miller.
Back in the studios in September, 1971 Hooker's road band which included his son Robert on organ and Luther Tucker on guitar (ex Little Walter) recorded the album 'Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive'. They were joined by a similar array of local talent which included violinist Micheal White and Don 'Sugarcane' Harris (ex Don & Dewey and Frank Zappa), Charlie Musselwhite, Harmonica, Elvin Bishop, slide-guitar (ex Paul Butterfield), and joining Hooker on vocals on the title track, Van Morrison. The album, featured here in its entirety, is well balanced between the boogie workouts and the sombre titles like 'TB Sheets'. Honours go to 'Bumblebee' (Benny Rowe on slide) and the fast 'Letter To My Baby'.
1987 and Hooker (who can add appearance in 'Blues Brothers' and 'Color Purple' to his prolific career) is still casting his spell over audiences worldwide. This record is another chapter in a remarkable story.

- Les Fancourt

This compilation ℗ & © 1987 By See For Miles Records Ltd.

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  • Barcode: 5 014661 008911

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