John Lee Hooker, Jr. Boards the Blues Train

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John Lee Hooker, Jr., son of blues legend John Lee Hooker boards the blues train with his debut CD release "Blues With A Vengeance" on Kent Records.

"The blues is a pimp because every time you have 'em, you go do something or get something to get rid of 'em." -- John Lee Hooker as told to John Lee Hooker, Jr.

It could be reasoned that the blues is the unacknowledged granddaddy of hip-hop. Both emanate from a street experience. Both exude attitude from a deep emotional space. Both explore and exploit the subject matter of sex, money and drugs. And both are here to stay.

John Lee Hooker Jr. is a modern day blues man. The son of the legendary blues great, John Lee Hooker, Hooker Jr. has got the blues pumpin' through his veins. Blues fan or not, music lovers had better prepare to "cook with the Hook" on this debut release from Kent Records. On "Blues With A Vengeance" Hooker Jr. burns like fire.

His blues offering is a compilation of songs that not only reflect an inheritance of his father's musical magic and charm, but it breathes the power, heart and soul of a life fueled by that demon known as the blues. One listen, and you will know that the spirit of John Lee Hooker lives in John Lee Hooker, Jr. It's definitely blues with a vengeance: unabashed, unashamed and unbridled!

The Motor City native rocks with magnetism and rolls with passion on "Blues With A Vengeance." He penned eight of the CD's twelve tracks and covers three of his father's original classics, including "Boom Boom" and "One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer." Backed by a band that includes Herbie Hancock protégé, keyboardist Will "Roc" Griffin, bassist Frank Thibeaux, drummer John Handy, lead guitarist John Garcia, who also accompanied Hooker, Sr. and the 18-year-old blues prodigy Jeff Horan on rhythm guitar, Hooker, Jr. makes his indelible mark in a culture that dates as far back as the 1800's.

With a past that included drugs, alcohol, divorce, incarceration and death, "Blues With A Vengeance" is Hooker, Jr.'s celebratory redemption. The CD recently was named "Outstanding Blues Album" for 2004 at the California Music Awards (formerly the Bammies) and Hooker, Jr. also won the "Comeback Artist of the Year" award from the Bay Area Blues Society in his adopted hometown of San Francisco.

Unlike the moody, dusky demeanor his father conveyed in song, Junior displays a wild sense of fun and humor with his stylings, mixing R&B and jazz with traditional down home flavor. Stand out selections include the track "The Blues Ain't Nothin' But a Pimp" where Hooker, Jr. marries old school blues funk with hip-hop sensibility. He reclaims his father's classic "Boom Boom" turning it into a rock ditty, while "Suspicious" is a gut-wrenching tale of heartbreak and deceit. "She Wasn't Nothing But a Devil" rips with classic blues guitar riffs and "Goin' Down to Baghdad (Lookin' for Saddam Hussein)" proves that the blues are indeed in current effect. When Hooker Jr. covers "Stormy Monday" his loss and pain ache through every chord.

"If I tried to fill my father's shoes, I'd get cramps in my feet just trying to take one step," cites Hooker, Jr. in an effort to acknowledge that he is forging his own blues road. And perhaps his cover of "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" best exemplifies his effort. Hooker Jr., a man who has wrestled the blues and won, rewrites the final chorus to:

"My baby she's home

Home every night

We make love and we never fight

I don't get drunk. I'm in my right mind.

One Coke, one Sprite and root beer"

The blues is undoubtedly the granddaddy of hip-hop, a music of the people. Somewhere in heaven, John Lee Hooker is nodding and smiling along to the beat. The blues tradition is alive and well in his son, John Lee Hooker, Jr.

John Lee Hooker, Jr. will perform at The Blue Cafe in Long Beach on November 19 and at Harvelle's in Santa Monica on November 20 as part of an extensive international tour in support of this release.

To get your blues jones on, go to http://www.OnTheHookBlues.com for downloadable audio samples and tour information.

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Stuart Woltz
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