Tribute to a Blues Master

From Clarksdale to Heaven: Remembering John Lee Hooker (Blue Storm Music)
Various Artists

By Larry Alexander

When ya think of the blues, ya gotta think of John Lee Hooker. Now passed, Hooker brought the blues to its current distinction and this collection is a fitting tribute.

His daughter, Zakiya Hooker, starts off the tribute with a classic of John Lee's "I Want to Hug You." She has quite a set of pipes and carries the song well. Jack Bruce and Gary Moore knock it outta the park with "I'm In The Mood." This cut is one of the best I've heard in a long time - it just flat rocks and is worth the price of the CD in itself.

"Will The Circle Be Unbroken" is performed by Jeff Beck as arranged by Hooker. This traditional bluegrass tune is one of my favorites and is given new life and meaning in this arrangement. I would love to see this performed live - it's just too cool.

"Baby Lee" by Gary Brooker and Andy Fairweather-Low makes it happen; "Ground Hog Blues" by T.S. McPhee and Dick Heckstall-Smith does it with lyrics and saxophone and Suzanne Sterling gives "The Business" a unique sound accompanied by some really fine musicians. "The Business" was actually written by Robert Hunter and Greg Anton for Hooker to record, but health prevented the completion of the project. "Serve Me Right To Suffer" by Gary Moore is played and sung for the sole intent to bring a tear to your eye. It works.

"Red House" is a previously unreleased cut recorded for a Jimi Hendrix tribute. It features John Lee directing the session. What a way to end the CD. If you love the blues, ya gotta have this disc. If you don't know the blues, buy this as an introduction. It's easily one of the best collections I've heard in a long time.