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Printable Version
Reviewed by -
Duane Leyva
John Lee Hooker
Boogie Chillen'
Released: April 05, 2003
Origination Year: 2003
Time: N/A
Tracks: 20
Produced by: Steve Hoffman
Style: Studio
Format: SACD
Enhancement: DSD
Label:Audio Fidelity Records

Track Listing
  1. Hey's The House Rent Boogie
  2. I'm in the Mood
  3. Do My Baby Think of Me?
  4. I'm Gonna Git Me a Woman
  5. Four Women in My Life
  6. Yes, Baby Baby
  7. Let's Talk It Over (One More Time)
  8. Baby, How Can You Do It?
  9. Bluebird, Take a Letter Down South
  10. Boogie Chillen'
  11. It Hurts Me So
  12. Down Child
  13. Gonna Boogie
  14. Bad Boy
  15. Baby, I'm Gonna Miss You
  16. Half a Stranger
  17. Rock House Boogie
  18. Baby, You Ain't No Ugly Good
  19. Lookin' For a Woman
  20. The Syndicator

John Lee Hooker

John Lee Hooker:
Guitar / Vocals / Foot

Pronunciation: 'blüz-m&n
Function: noun
Date: 1966:
1. A state of depression or melancholy. Often used with the

2. A style of music evolved from southern African-American secular songs and usually distinguished by a syncopated 4/4 rhythm, flatted thirds and sevenths, a 12-bar structure, and lyrics in a three-line stanza in which the second line repeats the first: “The blues is an expression of anger against shame and humiliation” (John Lee Hooker).

As the story is told, back in 1948, a young, little known blues singer by the name of John Lee Hooker arrived at the Detroit, Michigan offices of Bernard Besman, owner of Pan American Record Distributors with a 78-RPM acetate disc. Besman wasn't too enthused with what he heard but he knew that, with some tutelage, John Lee Hooker had potential. Fortunately, Besman didn’t have to wait long. Within a span of four years, Besman produced over 200 sides of what most consider “the best of John Lee Hooker”.

Although John Lee Hooker’s music has been duplicated over the years, one could never duplicate the originator’s masterful craft of telling a story and singing with such enigmatic tone. On this album, Boogie Chillen, it's impossible to listen without bobbing your head a little or stomping your foot at the same tempo with Hooker. This album is a quintessential must for blues lovers, old and young. With the conversion to SACD, Boogie Chillen becomes more compelling and more gratifying. The clarity is especially impressive with the guitar providing the illusion that the blues master himself just might be in the room with you. Audio Fidelity did a fine job converting this classic into SACD purity. John Lee has to be looking down on us and smiling knowing that’s exactly how he wanted to his blues to be heard and appreciated.

Most amazing however is John Lee Hooker's Boogie Chillen, the album. Every song is a foot stompin' barnburner making it extremely difficult to determine which song may be superior. Without a doubt however, "Boogie Chillen" (the song) may be the ultimate winner as 'best of show'. "Boogie Chillen" was transferred from the same surviving 78 RPM acetate record that John Lee Hooker once presented to Bernard Besman upon their first introductions making it historically the first recorded song that Hooker made.

"Baby Baby" has vintage guitar plucking brought to brilliant life by DSD. Even the blues musicians today can never replicate the same sound. You just cannot get that vintage tone on a modern recording studio. "Down Child" is another stellar piece where you can hear raw guitar playing that will make your jaw drop. "Hey, S The House Rent Boogie" is another foot tapper that I’m sure, at a live venue, must of brought the house down. When this album was recorded, they placed a microphone at John Lee Hooker's feet so you can actually hear his foot tapping in rhythm to the song. "I’m In The Mood" has been covered by virtually everyone with an acoustic guitar and a notion for blues. Despite this adulation, however, Hooker's original version is still the best. "Do My Baby Think Of Me?" contain stellar guitar licks, played while asking God about what I’m sure every guy has been through.

This album is a timeless blues masterpiece that all blues enthusiasts will need in their private collection. Audio Fidelity has done a phenomenal job with Boogie Chillen. It stands to reason that you need this SACD release. I look forward with anticipation to other Audio Fidelity releases that will feature blues greats.

Copyright © 2002-2003 Matthew Rowe. All rights reserved.
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Disclaimer: various news pieces may state a specific media publication or program as a source. All other news is considered 'rumour' only. That goes double for release dates.

212 Frech

"Even though most of the people I knew in my youth are gone, I still reach out to them..."
Norman Maclean - Paraphrase

"...we should enjoy every sandwich." -- Warren Zevon, 2003