Wednesday, February 20, 2008

No. 375: The Ultimate Collection

Band: John Lee Hooker
Album: The Ultimate Collection
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: If there's a Mt. Rushmore of blues artists, John Lee Hooker is on it. This greatest hits set contains all of Hooker's classics, which are largely rock and roll classics.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: Because of the nature of blues' time as a genre, the greatest hits set is fine, but a lot of the hits aren't so great. The songs on the first disc mostly run together.
Best song: "Boom Boom" is near perfect.
Worst song: "No More Doggin'" isn't great.
Is it awesome?: It's a good quarter of a set.

I was talking to a friend this weekend about music with which we have no strong connection. Blues, to me, is one of those genres.

My connection, of course, is that rock and roll is a direct descendant of the blues. And, as such, John Lee Hooker's best (and most famous) have been covered by many rock and rollers.

So, as such, my favorite songs from this set are the ones you probably know. "Boom Boom," "You Know, I Know," "Crawlin' King Snake" and, of course, "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" are my favorites from this set.

John Lee Hooker has a great voice and his ability to take his pain and vocalize it through his gritty vocals is a quality the best bluesmen have and Hooker had it.

Overall, though, the first disc of this set mostly runs together, but the first half of the second disc is brilliant, distinct and near-perfect.

1 comment:

SoulBoogieAlex said...

Picking a John Lee Hooker compilation for the list in stead of an album shows of poor imagination on the side of Rolling Stone. Between '60 and '64 Hooker recorder many great albums, mosts notably "I'm John Lee Hooker".

Of course as with many Blues legends some of his greatest material was never released on an album, but I still feel RS misses its mark here.