John Lee Hooker Come And See About Me

John Lee Hooker is one of those few blues men whose star will continue to shine well beyond the grave. Becoming almost a caricature of his definitive Endless Boogie persona, he nonetheless delivered a rich catalogue of classic blues for 53 years, skirting the many restrictions of contract law by recording under countless names for as many labels. The proof of his unique appeal is in the pudding and this is as loving a time capsule as you'll find — endorsed by daughter Zakiya and the Hooker Estate Archives. A study in heart and soul, the Hook delivered the goods in as primitive a form as possible: dark, brooding vocals, over-amped guitar and definitive foot-tapping. Only in the later years as larger pop artists started to champion his music did his recordings take on a sheen that contrasted his rough-hewn talent more elaborately. He had something that few artists do and he retained his magic until his death in 2001. You can hear it in his earliest recorded works, including 1965's "Hobo Blues," all the way up to the re-recorded version included here with Ry Cooder (1990). His career had a succession of reinventions, as the mid-'60s saw him adopted by such bands as the Animals and Canned Heat, introducing him to a new generation. This process continued with Roy Rodgers' inspired production and slide playing behind the Grammy-anointed The Healer (1989), with credible guest stars Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana and Robert Cray waving high the Hooker flag, paying back their inspiration. The retrospective includes some 19 tracks featuring Paul Butterfield, Carlos Santana and Van Morrison, and boasts such Hooker-isms as "Boom Boom" (a hit in '62), "Boogie Chillen" (with Clapton and the Stones) and "I'm In The Mood" (with Bonnie Raitt). John Lee Hooker is represented here for the true character he was throughout his life and is an honest to goodness icon in a genre where so few of them go the distance. John Lee Hooker remains timeless. Mr. Lucky, indeed. (Eagle Rock/EMI)