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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Blues
A CD of uncompramised blues with an unbreakably strong boggie Rythem. I haven't sampled much else of John Lee Hooker's recordings so am unable to compare this to the rest of his work, but to me it stands out from most chicargo blues, probably because it is right at the leading edge of the field, songs like Rock House Boogie represent real cutting edge production work that...
Published on 15 May 2003 by S. Beard

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Anyone who wishes to examine his music more start here...
If you wish to collect a reasonably thorough overview of Hooker's career then start with this album. It features his earliest work which was for Modern. If you have listened to any of the various Hooker greatest hits compilations then you may find this hard to get into at first as the recordings are of JLH alone with an acoustic guitar, however, this is when he is at his...
Published on 2 Dec 2002 by Anonymous


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Anyone who wishes to examine his music more start here..., 2 Dec 2002
If you wish to collect a reasonably thorough overview of Hooker's career then start with this album. It features his earliest work which was for Modern. If you have listened to any of the various Hooker greatest hits compilations then you may find this hard to get into at first as the recordings are of JLH alone with an acoustic guitar, however, this is when he is at his best- raw and stripped down. It features the original versions of some of his songs that later made him famous when recorded for other labels, such as 'Crawling King Snake' and 'Boogie Chillun'. The album does get a little repetitive after a while but nonetheless, it is a great place to start your John Lee Hooker collection. It would be very exhausting to collect all his work as he recorded for many different labels under various names, however he mainly recorded for two major labels during his best period, Chess and Vee Jay, and most compilations tend to be a mixture of these two and so the next best place to go would be 'The Complete 1950's Chess Recordings' followed by some kind of Vee Jay best of or the Vee Jay box set.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Blues, 15 May 2003
By 
S. Beard "imayfly" (England) - See all my reviews
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A CD of uncompramised blues with an unbreakably strong boggie Rythem. I haven't sampled much else of John Lee Hooker's recordings so am unable to compare this to the rest of his work, but to me it stands out from most chicargo blues, probably because it is right at the leading edge of the field, songs like Rock House Boogie represent real cutting edge production work that I was under the impression didn't happen until the Beatles come along, his pure voice and developing guitar lend a grate honesty to the work, and his ability to sing outside the blues whilst still remaining grounded in it's rythems and patterns give this record an honesty that I feel many blues recordings seem to miss. I wouldn't recomend this to everybody, some of the tracks have not been copied briliantly and there are imperfections, but I think that if you are somebody who really enjoys listening to to music (I don't mean the words or the style, but the music behind all that) then I don't see how you can be disapointed by this CD, I certanly wasn't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Henry Barbee to Bernie Besman, and the rest is history......, 16 Oct 2010
By 
N. Jones "Nic The Pen" (Oxford, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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They're not made like John Lee Hooker any more, but sixty odd years ago the man himself was putting it down, as these sides testify. Even by that time the hypnotic guitar playing was in place, and the sometimes declamatory voice already had that hint of menace which ensures that when he relates a tale of being on the road -and railroads, probably- on "Hobo Blues" you don't doubt him for a minute. Okay so the blues is littered with examples of musicians and singers who wouldn't have known how to fake it, but in Hooker's case it's the very gravity of his work that makes it so compelling.

"Crawling King Snake" was of course destined to become one of the staples of his repertoire but the chances are he never made a version of it he didn't mean. This one, released by Modern in 1949 on one side of MOD 714, is all meaning, underpinned by that rolling, minimal guitar punctuated in a fashion that perhaps only Hooker knew. Certainly it's not difficult to see why he hardly ever needed a band.

"Boogie Chillen" was a bona fide hit, to the reputed tune of one million sales, a figure which was a lot more significant back in 1948 than it might be today, and on the back of such a hit it might be said that Hooker's future was assured, but that didn't stop him going on to be one of the most compelling performers in the whole of the blues. Thus, anyone who wants to know where the music still going today came from need look no further.

Truly, the blues had a baby and they called it rock `n' roll..............
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Legendary Modern Recordings, 9 Oct 2013
I'm in two minds about The Legendary Modern Recordings, probably because it's very much a compilation of two halves.

The first half of this CD is nothing less than classic and essential Hooker, just the man with his guitar and stomping foot, banging out quality material. The second half becomes something of a mixed bag, with a distinct sag in the middle. The run of stone cold classics drops off and additional musicians begin to make an appearance, to the extent that a couple of tracks sound downright cheesy and cliched.

From a mastering perspective this is a very clean sounding CD - maybe at times too clean? I can't help feeling the modern process of transferring this material from the original vinyl to a digital format resulted in the loss of some of the "life" of the sound. For example; Boogie Chillen on this CD, despite being fantastically clean and surface noise free, simply doesn't engage with me in the same way it does on other compilations. Even though its exactly the same recording, it just seem to be missing that certain "something".

To briefly digress, this disc was released by Ace Records just a year after their Blues Brother compilation. That Hooker CD takes material from the same 1940s/1950s period but was originally transferred from vinyl in the 1970s, and to my ears it sounds much more natural, vibrant and engaging. I can't help thinking that difference is down to the mastering technique.

So to sum up;

At least 50% of The Legendary Modern Recordings consists of essential John Lee Hooker. Out of the rest, 25% is Hooker on near enough top form and 25% is material-which-should-have-remained-on-a-B-side Hooker. The overall sound of the CD is incredibly clean, with just the occasional rumble of surface noise.

For someone making their first foray into Hooker's early years this is a good enough place to start. However, since its release in the early 1990s numerous budget-priced Hooker compilations have appeared which feature much of the same material in a similarly clean quality. Bearing in mind this title seems to have sustained a relatively high price tag over the years, it may be better for the Hooker novice to spend a couple of quid buying one of the latter as a taster and graduating to this if they like what they hear.

I'll give The Legendary Modern Recordings three stars.
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