Review Summary: Play that good ole blues rock music white boy…
Some guys wonder if people’s music habits are influenced by weather. Well, the answer most times is affirmative even though for me it’s not so much weather but music I’ve associated with periods of my life. In that respect, one of the songs I need to hear every summer is “On the Road Again”. Images of driving through the hot desert with the windows of my car rolled down come to my mind every time I listen to that song. Yeah, you know similar to that dream that Jim Morrison used to have minus the wounded Indians of course. There’s something about this tune that immediately draws me every time to its hypnotic, driving, dronish rhythm combined with Alan Wilson’s falsetto vocals that makes it so appealing to me.
However, despite my infatuation with Canned Heat’s most well known track, for quite some time I never bothered to check any of their full albums. So, are these white boys that play blues rock any good? The answer is a definite yes! After putting out their self-titled debut comprising completely of old blues staples, Canned Heat went on to record their sophomore effort which was released just six months later. One significant difference is that Boogie With Canned Heat
consists almost entirely of original material written by the band.
In a sentence, Canned Heat used the old folk blues style played by legends such as John Lee Hooker as a platform, enriched it with driving boogie elements and served it with a psychedelic vibe. The music contained on Boogie With Canned Heat
is standard blues rock, infused with the elements mentioned before, similar to Steppenwolf, Grand Funk Railroad, Paul Butterfield and John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers among others. The listener can enjoy some beautiful lead/slide guitar combined with harmonica (folk elements) and a few piano/horn arrangements (boogie-woogie) courtesy of Dr. John. Overall, the vibe of the album is laid back and feel-good and at the same time one can feel the love of the band towards the country blues of the previous decades. Moreover, the quality of song writing is quite consistent throughout and towards the end of the album we find the first recording of a Canned Heat extended jam. An 11 minute boogie based on the rhythm of “On the Road Again” in which every band member is presented by Heat’s main vocalist and provides us with a short solo; “Fried Hockey Boogie” is definitely one of the highlights of this album.
Overall, Boogie With Canned Heat
stands as probably Canned Heat’s best and most consistent effort alongside Future Blues
. Highly recommended to fans of the blues, psychedelic rock and to those who enjoy tasty rhythms with a strong late ‘60s vibe.