on 17 December 2011
I'll admit I'm not a huge John Lee Hooker fan, so this'll just be a short review for the original CD issue of this title on Impulse!/MCA (catalogue number MCD18186).
Recorded in 1965 and featuring Hooker backed by a full band, this album has excellent sound quality. It's incredibly well produced, and the mastering is pre-loudness wars superb. It's an exceptionally pleasant listening experience.
Something I'm discovering seems to be a bit of a trait with Blues albums from this era are off-kilter mixing choices. With this album the guitar and vocals are mixed directly to the centre, the drums and second guitar off to one side and the bass to the opposite. You won't really notice it listening through regular speakers, but it may initially sound a bit odd through headphones...though you'll get used to it after a couple of songs.
The tracklist does contain a couple of uptempo numbers, but largely it showcases Hooker doing that slow-burning thing he's most well known for doing. As a previous reviewer noted, it's a very cohesive collection of songs.
It's one of those albums that's perfect to put on in the background as the early hours of the morning start to unfold. It's not too brash and not too lethargic, balancing somewhere comfortably in between.
So, my rating for this album? I'll give it 3 stars out of 5.
John Lee Hooker
It Serve You Right To Suffer
Shake It Baby
Bottle Up And Go
It Serve You Right