C.C. Rider the Venerator: John Lee Hooker

Black Hat. Dark Sunglasses. Sound like a Blues Brother to you? It is. The original Blues Brother. Inspiration to Jake and Elwood. Master songwriter, electric guitar titan, best-selling bluesman…John Lee Hooker.

This is the latest from The Bluesmobile’s C.C. Rider, who spends her life venerating the founding fathers of the blues. She’s walked the crooked highways of this singing country to resurrect the voices of the past. With the dirt of the Delta on her hands, she sleeps in the shadow of the giants on whose shoulders popular music now stands.

 

John Lee Hooker 1949 Encyclopedia BritannicaJohn Lee Hooker

(August 22, 1917 – June 21, 2001)

Black Hat. Dark Sunglasses. Sound like a Blues Brother to you? It is. The original Blues Brother. Inspiration to Jake and Elwood. Master songwriter, electric guitar titan, best-selling bluesman…John Lee Hooker.

He didn’t play the Delta Blues. He wasn’t groovin’ in Chicago. Didn’t listen to records to pick up licks. See, John Lee Hooker played a blues all his own. He developed his own meter. Changed up rhythms so much it was hard to find musicians to back him. But that didn’t matter.

John Lee Hooker could summon the power of a full band all by himself. Could haul a symphony out of a single chord. He couldn’t read or write, but his lyrics cut to the core of the human experience.

That’s what’s so incredible about John Lee Hooker. He took simplicity into his big, rough hands, and coaxed out unmatched complexity.  There wasn’t anyone making music like him. From the Delta where he was born to Detroit, where he made his home. He really was a singular being.

Here’s a sweet one. An early song. A song about bein’ 17 years old. And just wantin’ to go out and dance. John Lee Hooker. Boogie Chillen.

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