JOHN LEE HOOKER JR.

Two-time Grammy Nominated Blues & Gospel Artist

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All Hooked Up

by John Lee Hooker, Jr.

Hooker bears a striking physical resemblance to his famous father, but when it comes to songwriting he's wise enough to sidestep his dad's endless variations on the one-chord boogie to forge something all his own. Hooker Jr. blends jazzy R&B, down-home blues, rock, jazz, and a hint of funk into music that's bluesy without sounding too beholden to tradition. Hooker continues to explore new territory here and the results are always superior. "Listen to the Music" isn't the Doobie Brothers hit, but a Hooker original with a driving second-line shuffle goosed along by John R. Burr's sprightly, rippling Huey "Piano" Smith-style keyboard work and Hooker's lively vocal. Hooker looks back to the '50s for the jazzy R&B of "Tears in My Eyes." John Garcia's mellow guitar alternates between jazzy comped chords and stinging Albert King-style fills to complement Will Griffin's piano triplets and Hooker's soulful vocal. Betty Wright joins Hooker on lead vocals for the driving, Stax-meets-Chicago romp "I Surrender." Their good-humored vocal interplay sets off sparks that get fanned to a flame by the Hot Sauce Horns and the snappy, propulsive back beat supplied by drummer Michael Rogers. On the title track Hooker tips his hat to James Brown with a humorous funk-fueled description of hard times and salvation ("Describe my life in two words?/Creature Features") replete with chattering rhythm guitar and propulsive horn stabs that'll make you break out in a cold sweat. - j. poet, Rovi