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FAME Review: John Lee Hooker, Jr. - Live in Istanbul, Turkey
John Lee Hooker, Jr. - Live in Istanbul, Turkey

Live in Istanbul, Turkey

John Lee Hooker, Jr.

Stepping Stone Records - CCE92009 (CD / DVD)

Available from John Lee Hooker, Jr.'s online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Chalk it up to the incredible amount of musicians out there that I didn't even know John Lee's son was a musician and on the circuit, but I have to say he should've made more of a buzz already, as what he's doing is solid and contains more than a few ties to a long range of years, from the 50s to the 00s. The guy has made his mark in rap and hip hop, modes I'm not much interested in, but his blues are readily the equal of most anyone on the market in this lush style bedded in a tight horns-embellished band and featuring hot hot hot guitarist, Jeff Horan, who peppers the tracks with a heady psychedelic atmosphere as well as liquid blues riffs.

In fact, the only complaint I have with the CD side of this CD / DVD combo is the recording, which isn't balanced as well as it should be, recessing Horan too far into the background and not always wrapping the horns around Hooker Jr.'s vocals in the fashion he deserves. With Live in Istanbul, you get a Stoneground / Earth, Wind & Fire / Dr. John / early Mother's Finest / Isaac Hayes brand of New Orleans-by-way-of-Hotlanta sweltering atmospherics unafraid to load up the grooves and get a sweat established with hard chargin' gumbo and jalapenos. The gent's lyrics are clever and earthy, tackling aspects of the meetin' 'n cheatin' side of things in terms few approach.

In fact, with the CD, as said, ya get a short DVD of an MTVed version of a song not on the concert roster, Extramarital Affair, a kind of CGI animatics gig not unlike the way cool old George Pal puppet-toons. The tune has a grim little twist to it, interpolating a taste of a controversial early exponent of rap, Eazy-E, illustrating how unusual Hooker Jr.'s creativity can be. It's also perfectly in tune with the CD materials, and I suspect the only question remaining must be: Would John Lee's father approve of his son's work? Thus, let me inform you that he'd be snapping his fingers, bobbing his head, and smiling from ear to ear while beaming like a stogie-chompin' dad, bustin' his buttons and proud as hell.

Track List:

  • Suspicious (John Lee Hooker, Jr.)
  • People Want a CHange (Hooker Jr. / Griffin / Garcia / Mercier)
  • It's a Shame (Hooker Jr. / Rinter / Thibeaux / Mercier)
  • Fed Up (Hooker Jr. / Garcia / Thibeaux / Griffin)
  • Funky Funk (Hooker Jr. / Thibeaux)
  • You Made My Life Brand New (Hooker Jr. / Rinta / Griffin / Garcia / Thibeaux)
  • They Hatin' on Me (Hooker Jr. / Rinta)
  • One Eye Opened (Hooker Jr. / Horan / Griffin)
  • Wait Until My Change Come (Hooker Jr. / Thibeaux / Griffin)
  • Maudie (John Lee Hooker)
  • Boom Boom (John Lee Hooker)
  • Doin' the Boogie (Hooker Jr. / Thibeaux)
  • Talk Too Much (Hooker Jr. / Cotton)

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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