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Hot Tuna - The Best Of Hot Tuna

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The Best Of Hot Tuna

Hot Tuna

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This two-disc compilation of RCA recordings, made between 1969 and 1977, traces Hot Tuna's evolution from an acoustic folk-blues group to an electric blues-rock band, and then to a near-heavy metal ensemble, and from a repertoire dominated by covers of songs by blues guitarists like the Reverend Gary Davis to one consisting largely of original material written by guitarist/singer Jorma Kaukonen. Actually, the transitions are not that dramatic, since Kaukonen continues to favor the same kinds of guitar figures whether he's playing acoustic or electric, and his own songs, albeit with more abstract lyrics, are steeped in the traditions that produced the cover material. The compilers might have pleased Hot Tuna fans by placing more emphasis on the group's jamming abilities, including more of its live material ("Death Don't Have No Mercy" is especially missed), and saved some of the Kaukonen compositions for a "best of Jorma" album. But that is not to say that the compilation isn't a balanced, representative condensation of Hot Tuna's career on RCA; it is. It's just that, like the Grateful Dead's, Hot Tuna's studio albums didn't necessarily reflect the best of the group as a performing unit. Note that the set includes a rare studio version of "Been So Long" originally released as a single and a previously unreleased 1977 live version of "Rock Me Baby."
© William Ruhlmann /TiVo

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The Best Of Hot Tuna

Hot Tuna

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1
Hesitation Blues Remastered - February 1988
00:05:06

Joe Lopes, Engineer - Jack Casady, Arranger - Al Schmitt, Producer - Traditional, Composer - Traditional, Lyricist - Hot Tuna, Performer - John Snyder, Producer - Jorma Kaukonen, Arranger

(P) Recorded Prior to 1972. All Rights Reserved by BMG Music

2
Know You Rider Live
00:04:07

Jack Casady, Arranger - Alan Zentz, Engineer - Al Schmitt, Producer - Traditional, Composer - Traditional, Lyricist - Hot Tuna, Performer - Jorma Kaukonen, Arranger

Originally released 1970. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
Winin' Boy Blues Live
00:05:31

Jelly Roll Morton, Composer - Jelly Roll Morton, Lyricist - Alan Zentz, Engineer - Al Schmitt, Producer - Hot Tuna, Performer

Originally released 1970. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Mann's Fate Live
00:05:27

Alan Zentz, Engineer - Al Schmitt, Producer - Hot Tuna, Performer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist

Originally released 1970. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning
00:08:14

Fishobaby Production, Producer - Rev. Gary Davis, Composer - Rev. Gary Davis, Lyricist - Hot Tuna, Performer

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

6
Candy Man
00:05:48

Fishobaby Production, Producer - Rev. Gary Davis, Composer - Rev. Gary Davis, Lyricist - Hot Tuna, Performer

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
Been So Long
00:03:41

Fishobaby Production, Producer - Hot Tuna, Vocal - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
Keep On Truckin' Digitally Mastered - August 1988
00:03:40

Joe Lopes, Engineer - Bob Carleton, Composer - Bob Carleton, Lyricist - Don Wardell, Coordinator - Hot Tuna, Performer - John Snyder, Producer - Jorma Kaukonen, Producer

(P) 1981 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

9
99 Year Blues Digitally Mastered - August 1988
00:03:59

Joe Lopes, Engineer - Don Wardell, Coordinator - Julius Daniels, Composer - Julius Daniels, Lyricist - Hot Tuna, Performer - Torrence Daniels, Composer - Torrence Daniels, Lyricist - John Snyder, Producer - Jorma Kaukonen, Producer

(P) 1981 BMG Music

10
Ode For Billy Dean Digitally Mastered - August 1988
00:04:50

Joe Lopes, Engineer - Don Wardell, Coordinator - Hot Tuna, Performer - John Snyder, Producer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist - Jorma Kaukonen, Producer

(P) 1981 BMG Music

11
Sea Child Digitally Mastered - August 1988
00:05:01

Joe Lopes, Engineer - Don Wardell, Coordinator - Hot Tuna, Performer - John Snyder, Producer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist - Jorma Kaukonen, Producer

(P) 1981 BMG Music

12
Water Song Digitally Mastered - August 1988
00:05:16

Joe Lopes, Engineer - Don Wardell, Coordinator - Hot Tuna, Performer - John Snyder, Producer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist - Jorma Kaukonen, Producer

(P) 1981 BMG Music

13
I See The Light
00:04:15

Fishobaby Production, Producer - Mallory Earl, Engineer - Hot Tuna, Performer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist

(P) 1973 BMG Music

14
Living Just For You
00:03:18

Fishobaby Production, Producer - Mallory Earl, Engineer - Hot Tuna, Performer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist

(P) 1973 Grunt Records

15
Easy Now
00:05:10

Fishobaby Production, Producer - Mallory Earl, Engineer - Hot Tuna, Performer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist

(P) 1973 Grunt Records

16
Sally, Where'd You Get Your Liquor From?
00:02:56

Fishobaby Production, Producer - Mallory Earl, Engineer - Gary Davis, Composer - Gary Davis, Lyricist - Hot Tuna, Performer

(P) 1973 Grunt Records

DISC 2

1
Hit Single #1
00:05:13

Mallory Earl, Producer - Hot Tuna, Performer - Hot Tuna, Producer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist

(P) 1975 Grunt Records

2
Serpent Of Dreams
00:06:51

Mallory Earl, Producer - Hot Tuna, Performer - Hot Tuna, Producer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist

(P) 1975 Grunt Records

3
Sleep Song
00:04:24

Mallory Earl, Producer - Hot Tuna, Performer - Hot Tuna, Producer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist

(P) 1975 Grunt Records

4
Funky #7
00:05:47

Jack Casady, Composer - Jack Casady, Lyricist - Mallory Earl, Producer - Hot Tuna, Performer - Hot Tuna, Producer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist

(P) 1975 Grunt Records

5
Hot Jelly Roll Blues
00:04:22

Mallory Earl, Producer - CARTER, Lyricist - CARTER, Composer - Hot Tuna, Performer - Hot Tuna, Producer - Jorma Kaukonen, Arranger

(P) 1975 Grunt Records

6
Sunrise Dance With the Devil
00:04:27

Mallory Earl, Producer - Hot Tuna, Producer - Hot Tuna, Performer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist

(P) 1975 Grunt Records

7
Bar Room Crystal Ball
00:06:53

Mallory Earl, Producer - Hot Tuna, Producer - Hot Tuna, Performer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist

(P) 1975 Grunt Records

8
I Wish You Would
00:03:16

Harry Maslin, Producer - Hot Tuna, Performer - Billy Boy Arnold, Composer - Billy Boy Arnold, Lyricist

(P) 1976 Grunt Records

9
Watch the North Wind Rise
00:04:14

Harry Maslin, Producer - Hot Tuna, Performer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist

(P) 1976 Grunt Records

10
It's So Easy
00:02:33

Harry Maslin, Producer - Norman Petty, Composer - Norman Petty, Lyricist - Buddy Holly, Lyricist - Buddy Holly, Composer - Hot Tuna, Performer

(P) 1976 Grunt Records

11
Song from the Stainless Cymbal
00:04:00

Harry Maslin, Producer - Hot Tuna, Performer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist

(P) 1976 Grunt Records

12
Genesis Live Version
00:04:33

Felix Pappalardi, Producer - Hot Tuna, Performer - Don Gehman, Producer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist - Gail Collins, Producer

(P) 1978 Grunt Records

13
Rock Me Baby
00:07:37

Joe Josea, Composer - Joe Josea, Lyricist - B.B. King, Composer - B.B. King, Lyricist - Hot Tuna, Performer

(P) 1977 BMG Music

14
Extrication Love Song
00:04:55

Hot Tuna, Performer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist

(P) 1977 BMG Music

Album Description

This two-disc compilation of RCA recordings, made between 1969 and 1977, traces Hot Tuna's evolution from an acoustic folk-blues group to an electric blues-rock band, and then to a near-heavy metal ensemble, and from a repertoire dominated by covers of songs by blues guitarists like the Reverend Gary Davis to one consisting largely of original material written by guitarist/singer Jorma Kaukonen. Actually, the transitions are not that dramatic, since Kaukonen continues to favor the same kinds of guitar figures whether he's playing acoustic or electric, and his own songs, albeit with more abstract lyrics, are steeped in the traditions that produced the cover material. The compilers might have pleased Hot Tuna fans by placing more emphasis on the group's jamming abilities, including more of its live material ("Death Don't Have No Mercy" is especially missed), and saved some of the Kaukonen compositions for a "best of Jorma" album. But that is not to say that the compilation isn't a balanced, representative condensation of Hot Tuna's career on RCA; it is. It's just that, like the Grateful Dead's, Hot Tuna's studio albums didn't necessarily reflect the best of the group as a performing unit. Note that the set includes a rare studio version of "Been So Long" originally released as a single and a previously unreleased 1977 live version of "Rock Me Baby."
© William Ruhlmann /TiVo

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