Music Reviews

Canned Heat

1967-76 : The Boogie House Tapes

Ruf

Legitimate hippies playing legitimate blues, Canned Heat has performed everywhere from the original Woodstock to Carnegie Hall with John Lee Hooker. And while the band is currently alive and kicking, it’s past – specifically the years 1967-1976, before vocalist and founding member Bob “The Bear” Hite passed away – is what The Boogie House Tapes rightly glorifies. The double CD is a smattering of 29 tracks that blues fans would enjoy and Canned Heat fans would adore, featuring mostly live songs and a few studio outtakes, all of which had been luckily saved for years by a guy from Belgium named Dr. Boogie.

Overall, the tracks are of roughly great sound quality for a live performance, and most likely came directly from the soundboard. Canned Heat had a lot of fun with the blues format, keeping the guitar solos and jamming significantly scarcer than what you’d expect from B.B. King; instead, the band drives their music with vocals about girls and just about anything else: Harley Davidsons, food, back aches and, as hippies are wont to do, marijuana. They varied the tempo as much as the topics, keeping things bouncy and boogie and then slowing it down for a standard blues. Initially, their slower songs sounds like the band is mocking the genre, but Canned Heat quickly establishes itself otherwise: they used the blues in their own lively and sometimes silly way, and it wasn’t just simply entertaining. It was appropriate. Ruf Records GmbH, Kirchstr.24, 37318 Lindewerra, Germany; www.cannedheatmusic.com


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