Very Best Of The Blues400


rovi.MR0001883170 4/18/00 Used
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    Very Best Of The Blues400 Purple Pyramid

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Review Text This compilation is taken from a pair of Canned Heat titles of spurious origin featuring two distinct lineups. Chronologically, the first to have been recorded is Vintage, consisting of cuts one through seven as well as track nine, "Straight Ahead." These predate their Liberty Records deal and are, in essence, demos circa 1966. Their raw, unbridled energy infuses the material with fresh life, while still true to the spirit and arrangement of R&B entries from the likes of John Lee Hooker ("Louise" and "Dimples"), Muddy Waters ("Got My Mojo Working"), Elmore James ("Rollin' and Tumblin'"), and Willie Dixon ("Spoonful" and "Pretty Thing"). The personnel on this seminal outing revolves around Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson (guitar/harmonica/vocals), Stuart Brotman (bass), Henry "Sunflower" Vestine (guitar), and Bob "The Bear" Hite (vocals). The drum stool could have been occupied by either Frank Cook or his predecessor, Keith Sawyer, both of whom played with the Heat in 1966. What is certain is that the Heat were teamed with R&B legend Johnny Otis, who produced the sessions au naturel, basically setting up the gear and letting the group do their thing. The results are uniformly excellent, displaying them as an undeniably powerful unit that honors its past while forging a unique and edgy amplified persona. The remaining six cuts hail from a 1968 live set at the Kaleidoscope in Los Angeles with Aldolfo "Fito" de la Parra (drums), who replaced Cook in late 1967. While the vintage blues covers have not yet turned into lengthy instrumental excursions, the languid stretched-out takes of B.B. King's "Sweet Sixteen" and Elmore James' "It Hurts Me Too" foreshadow the direction their music would adopt. The rollicking "Wish You Would" as well as the driving reading of "Dust My Broom" are among the best of the lot, with the Heat digging deep into a groove that refuses to let up. While these sides have erroneously circulated as Live at the Topanga Corral (1971), they can likewise be found on Live at the Kaleidoscope 1969 (2000) or as part of a more complete two-fer with Vintage (1969) on Live at the Topanga Corral/Vintage (2001). ~ Lindsay Planer

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Spoonful - 2:29
  2. 2. Big Road Blues - 2:05
  3. 3. Pretty Thing - 2:57
  4. 4. Louise - 3:04
  5. 5. Rollin' and Tumblin' - 2:05
  6. 6. Dimples - 2:18
  7. 7. Don't Hold On (Talk to Me Baby) - 3:30
  8. 8. I'd Rather Be the Devil - 5:23
  9. 9. Straight Ahead - 3:35
  10. 10. Got My Mojo Working - 3:41
  11. 11. Sweet Sixteen - 11:07
  12. 12. Wish You Would - 8:13
  13. 13. Bullfrog Blues - 7:24
  14. 14. Dust My Broom - 6:53

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