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John Lee Hooker|The Complete '50s Chess Recordings

The Complete '50s Chess Recordings

John Lee Hooker

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Hooker bounced around between label affiliations like crazy in the 1950s, recording under almost as many fake names as he did labels during that decade. His two lasting record company hookups occurred with Chess in the early 1950s and Vee-Jay later on in the decade. All of Hooker's Chess masters from that decade (he would later record in the '60s for them as well) are here on this two-disc, 31-track collection. Unlike other Chess artists, Hooker did little of his recording in Chicago, preferring to work out of his Detroit home base, where he continued to record for other labels under a variety of pseudonyms. His 1951 Chicago session excepted, the rest of the tracks emanate from Detroit sessions that also saw issuance on the local Gone, H-Q and Fortune labels. This is early John Lee at his solo-guitar, foot-stomping best, featuring boogies and introspective, slow blues that rival his best work. Some of the Detroit tracks reveal inbred distortion that can't be overcome even with modern day noise reduction techniques, but don't let that deter you from sampling some of the best John Lee Hooker available on compact disc for a second.
© Cub Koda /TiVo

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The Complete '50s Chess Recordings

John Lee Hooker

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1
Mad Man Blues (Single Version)
00:02:44

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1951 Geffen Records

2
Hey Boogie (Single Version)
00:02:14

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1951 Geffen Records

3
Louise (Single Version)
00:03:03

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1951 Geffen Records

4
High Priced Woman (Single Version)
00:02:42

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1951 Geffen Records

5
Union Station Blues (Single Version)
00:02:55

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1951 Geffen Records

6
Ground Hog Blues (Single Version)
00:02:56

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1951 Geffen Records

7
Leave My Wife Alone (Single Version)
00:02:46

John Lee Hooker, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1951 UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
Ramblin' By Myself (Single Version)
00:03:18

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1951 Geffen Records

9
Dreamin' Blues (Album Version)
00:03:05

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1951 Geffen Records

10
Just Me And My Telephone (Album Version)
00:03:19

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1951 Geffen Records

11
Walkin' The Boogie (Alternate Take)
00:02:32

John Lee Hooker, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Leonard Chess, Producer - Phil Chess, Producer

℗ 1952 Geffen Records

12
Sugar Mama (Single Version)
00:03:10

John Lee Hooker, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1952 UMG Recordings, Inc.

13
Please Don't Go (Album Version)
00:02:27

Lowell Fulson, ComposerLyricist - John Lee Hooker, MainArtist

℗ 1952 Geffen Records

14
I Don't Want Your Money (Album Version)
00:03:02

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1952 Geffen Records

15
Hey Baby (Album Version)
00:03:27

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1952 Geffen Records

16
Bluebird (Album Version)
00:03:02

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1952 Geffen Records

DISC 2

1
Walkin' The Boogie (Single Version)
00:02:54

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1952 UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
Love Blues (Album Version)
00:02:59

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1952 Geffen Records

3
Lonely Boy Boogie (Album Version)
00:03:50

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1952 Geffen Records

4
Apologize (Album Version)
00:03:02

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1952 Geffen Records

5
The Journey (Album Version)
00:04:19

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1952 Geffen Records

6
Worried Life Blues (Album Version)
00:03:04

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist - MACEO MERRIWEATHER, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1952 Geffen Records

7
Down At The Landing (Album Version)
00:02:54

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1952 Geffen Records

8
You Have Two Hearts (Album Version)
00:03:15

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1998 UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
It's My Own Fault (Single Version)
00:02:58

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1952 Geffen Records

10
Blues For Big Town (Album Version)
00:03:09

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1952 UMG Recordings, Inc.

11
Women And Money (Single Version)
00:02:55

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1952 Geffen Records

12
Big Fine Woman (Single Version)
00:02:58

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1954 UMG Recordings, Inc.

13
Tell Me Baby (Single Version)
00:03:39

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1954 UMG Recordings, Inc.

14
Blues For Christmas
00:03:19

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1954 UMG Recordings, Inc.

15
Cry Baby Cry
00:03:20

John Lee Hooker, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1954 UMG Recordings, Inc.

Album review

Hooker bounced around between label affiliations like crazy in the 1950s, recording under almost as many fake names as he did labels during that decade. His two lasting record company hookups occurred with Chess in the early 1950s and Vee-Jay later on in the decade. All of Hooker's Chess masters from that decade (he would later record in the '60s for them as well) are here on this two-disc, 31-track collection. Unlike other Chess artists, Hooker did little of his recording in Chicago, preferring to work out of his Detroit home base, where he continued to record for other labels under a variety of pseudonyms. His 1951 Chicago session excepted, the rest of the tracks emanate from Detroit sessions that also saw issuance on the local Gone, H-Q and Fortune labels. This is early John Lee at his solo-guitar, foot-stomping best, featuring boogies and introspective, slow blues that rival his best work. Some of the Detroit tracks reveal inbred distortion that can't be overcome even with modern day noise reduction techniques, but don't let that deter you from sampling some of the best John Lee Hooker available on compact disc for a second.
© Cub Koda /TiVo

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