John Lee Hooker Anthology: 50 Years

John Lee Hooker Anthology: 50 Years
Unlike many other performers, John Lee Hooker isn't remembered as much as a songwriter or instrumentalist but as creator of a vibe. His idiosyncratic boogie style played as big a part in the development of rock'n'roll as any other influence and continued on through the work of R.L. Burnside and other latter-day Mississippi bluesmen. Likewise, Hooker's catalogue was equally idiosyncratic and Anthology is about as sufficient a two-disc sampler as one could hope for, even though it's far from definitive. Kicking off with the original 1948 take of his signature "Boogie Chillen'," a good portion of disc one is pleasantly devoted to his hard-to-find work for Modern Records, before he moved to Chicago's Vee-Jay label and re-recorded most of that material. Hooker's output remained consistent through to the mid-'60s, when his career got a sudden boost from virtually every young white blues artist on both sides of the Atlantic trying to copy his trademarked style. This led to many half-hearted collaborations up until his death in 2001, the most well-known of which are highlighted on disc two. But the early material makes Anthology worth the price, as each of these tracks illustrate plainly what made Hooker the undeniable legend he was. (Shout! Factory)