Boogie Man: The Adventures of John Lee Hooker in the American Twentieth Century

Boogie Man: The Adventures of John Lee Hooker in the American Twentieth Century

Charles Shaar Murray

Language: English

Pages: 512

ISBN: 0312270062

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


With John Lee Hooker's death in June 2001 the world lost one of the last great Mississippi Delta bluesmen. Acclaimed writer Charles Schaar Murray's Boogie Man is the authorized and authoritative biography of this musician whose extraordinary career spanned over fifty years and included over one-hundred albums and five Grammy Awards. Murray was given unparalleled access to Hooker, and lets him tell his own story in his own words, from life in the Deep South to San Francisco, from the 1948 blues anthem "Boogie Chillen" to the Grammy-winning album The Healer nearly a half-century later. Boogie Man is far more than merely a brilliant biography of one man; it also gives the story of the music that inspired him. "When I die," Hooker said, they'll bury the blues with me. But the blues will never die." Here is the book that does him and his music full justice.

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was something more valuable and important than any contrived recycling of excerpts from the by-then heavily strip-mined Leadbelly repertoire could possibly have been. As Paul Oliver put in his sleeve-note to the British edition of the album, ‘Perhaps it is well [that Hooker did not know Leadbelly’s songs] if only because the present album might not have been made if he had been familiar with them. Instead of singing the blues and songs of an other man, which would have been second-hand experience

said, “You can not mess with those people.” He kept pounding it into our heads. We knew that, we see’d that. Everybody would be in they own place.’ Except that John Lee Hooker decided that he wasn’t going to stay in his. A certain amount of confusion exists around the precise place and date of John Lee Hooker’s birth; much of it created by Hooker himself. He’s always cited his birthday as 22 August, but the year has been variously reported as 1915, 1917, 1920 and 1923. For a while, Hooker was

so bad and you can only hold it so long. He was drinking all the time, he stay drunk and he could only hold it so long. Even me or you or anybody, you drink that much, you gotta go. But Jimmy: “I done pissed in the car, now y’all can keep goin’ now.” Oh, I got so mad, I started cussin’. I said, “God damn this shit.” I said, “Shit, he done pissed in my damn car.”’ As ever, the irrepressible Buddy Guy has a story to cap that one. ‘He’s like that about his car, but he was in Junior [Wells]’s car

Fortune, which subsequently ended up being purchased by Chess. 36. Modern and Chart continued to issue Hooker singles, competing with his new Vee Jay product, well into 1956. 37. In the booklet to the compilation album John Lee Hooker: The Ultimate Collection 1948–1990 (Rhino, 1991) 38. Actually, it wasn’t the Vandellas but Motown’s in-house backing singers the Andantes, plus Mary Wilson from the Supremes. Still, we’ll get to that a little later. Be patient! 39. Since ‘Big Town Playboy’ sold

world.’ Then he goes to work. Planting himself in his chair, he settles his guitar on his lap and unleashes a torrential blizzard of razor-edged notes. ‘I’m back home again!’ he crows. ‘Boom Boom’ careers along like a runaway express train. ‘I’m gonna get real funky now with “Crawlin’ King Snake”.’ he announces, and he is as good as his word. Garnished with a bravura tenor sax solo by Kenny Baker, ‘Crawlin’ King Snake’ positively smoulders: an erotic set-piece guaranteed to disturb the nocturnal

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