John Lee Hooker, Jr.

John Lee Hooker, Jr.

John Lee Hooker, Jr.

Cold As Ice

Telarc

The blues are simultaneously timeless and infinitely adaptable. Half of Mr. Hooker’s backup musicians have quoted blues names: Will “Roc” Griffin, Ric “Mighty Bone” Feliciano, Frankie “B” Bailey… But his opening line is “I just got your text message…” and later he talks up prenuptial agreements and plasma screen TVs. All of this sets against a nice, smoky backbeat, a strong brass line and drips of Mr. Hooker’s gravely voice — a voice built on cartons of Camel straights and cheap dive beer bouts. His father set a high standard and while the son has yet to rise to those heights, he’s on a good track, reaching into the new world of the 21st century while keeping hold of the musical conventions that make the blues one of the quintessential American styles of music.

OK, so what are the basic blues themes? Women leaving, women not leaving, being hungry, having hungry friends leech on you, being drunk, not having money for beer, having a hangover, wishing you had a hangover and barbeques. It’s all there, it’s very 21st century and it slides right in with all that material from the Depression. The big difference? I’ll bet Mr. Hooker Jr. has a better lawyer than his daddy did.

John Lee Hooker, Jr.: www.johnleehookerjr.com

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