This excellent compilation (everyone has an opinion and all are valid) goes from 1948 to 1996 and contains good samples of this iconoclastic and idiosyncratic bluesman's music through those years. He was born in the Clarksdale area of Mississippi Delta, the heart of the blues, and learned his guitar and foot stompin' from his stepfather, Will Moore, but that infectious beat of his boogies he says he was born with. He moved up to Detroit where he started his career as an entertainer playing mostly house parties, as there were no bars to play in. He had his first hit in 1948 with Boogie Chillen, which started a string of hits for him. It was just him, his gravely raspy voice, his Stella acoustic guitar with a sound hole mike and his foot stompin' for backup.
John Lee remained true to his musical vision and kept that compelling beat going up until the time he passed away. He was a true gentleman and remained true to his endless boogie that featured his dark smoky vocals combined with his one-chord grooves—contagious as well as being timeless and ultra primitive. He also remained true to his friends and in his last albums he gathered many of them to his side to help him record; people such as Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray and Keith Richards. It took the British Invasion to help bring his name back into the spotlight and give him the attention he deserved. He is one of those artists that is instantly recognizable by his music, his voice, or his guitar style; once heard never forgotten and you are the richer for the experience. This is as good of a two disc compilation particularly when you consider he recorded about 100 albums, you get as a good mixture of songs, as your are going to find; just his hit songs would probably fill 4 discs.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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