John Lee Jooker, Jr. review September 15, 2012…

JOHN LEE HOOKER, JR.

ALL HOOKED UP

STEPPIN STONE RECORDS

TIRED OF BEING A HOUSEWIFE–YOU BE MY HERO–LISTEN TO THE MUSIC–I SURRENDER–HARD TIMES–LET ME BE–IT MUST BE THE MEDS–ALL HOOKED UP–I KNOW THAT’S RIGHT–TELL IT LIKE IT IS–PAY THE RENT–TEARS IN MY EYES

 

John Lee Hooker, Jr. has been a multiple Grammy and Blues Award nominee, and, for his fifth album, he’s teamed up with some of California’s Bay Area best to make “All Hooked Up” a definite pleasure to listen to!  He’s on fire with these twelve originals, touching on blues, jazz, and soul, with a contemporary sound all his own.  Check out the gritty, harp-driven funk of “Tell t Like It Is,” reminding us all what are the wages of sin.  This one has a sweet backing chorus that gives it a gospel feel, adding to the message of the song.  Then there’s the leadoff tale of an urban “desperate housewife” who leaves an indifferent husband, on the prowl for a “little love and affection,” aptly-titled “Tired Of Being A Housewife.’  The slow blues of “Hard Times” shows how far someone will go just to survive, while “Let Me Be” finds John Lee just wanting to left alone to keep a low profile!

 

There is a cool companion DVD to this set, also.  It’s an animated, black-and-white, film-noir-ish video for the song “Dear John.”  It finds John jailed for attempting to satisfy one of his many late-night “cravings,” and, while incarcerated, he receives that dreaded “letter” from his soon-to-be-ex-wife!

 

There were several favorites, too.  “Pay The Rent” has a jazzy, Louis Jordan feel, while Lucky Peterson adds guitar to John’s tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces in “You Be My Hero.’  John is joined by the original “Clean Up Woman” herself, Betty Wright, on an old-school soul throwdown duet, “I Surrender.”  And, the title cut could well serve as John’s autobiography.  Being the son of a legend sometimes made it a bit too easy to get “All Hooked Up” with things that aren’t necessarily good for you.  But, now, he’s turned his life around and this one sends out a positive vibe.

 

John Lee Hooker’s amazing story of recovery and redemption  has put him on “The 700 Club” and on the cover of “Healthy Living” magazine.  And, he can lay down some mean blues in the grand tradition of his Pops to which “All Hooked Up’ can readily attest!!  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.

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