397. John Lee Hooker – “This is Hip”

Ahhh, it feels like time for some blues.  It’s been too long.

And here we are with one of the true greats. Mr. Hooker is a giant of the boogie-woogie Delta blues.

This is music that sounds deceptively simple, with Hooker almost talking rather than singing over a stompy beat and a repeated riff.

But, surely it can’t be that simple.  The growl, the syncopation, the sound of that electric guitar is somehow distinctive and memorable.  It is infectious and uplifting.

Hooker’s tunes feel like the sneaky whispered aside of some cool guy sitting in the corner of some bar ready to prowl, or just back from some enviable sexual conquest.  The purr on Boom! Boom! is a benchmark for blues:

I get the sense that Hooker had a sense for the popular and the crowd pleaser that lifted him above so many of his contemporaries and forebears.

This album is full of fun and innuendo. He was clearly a legs man, as Dimples and Big Legs, Tight Skirt testify. I’m not going to think too hard about Crawlin’ Kingsnake.

I’ve loved spending a day with John Lee, and with over 100 albums to his credit, everyone should own at least one.

File under: Earbait

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