The Hook Plays the Blues Live: The Mastery of John Lee Hooker

I don't think anyone can really debate that blues is where rock and roll all began. Which artists had the most impact on early rock and especially classic rock can be debated to the ends of the earth with supporters of various artists all having valid points and defending their idols to the death. I tend to stay out of these kinds of discussions, but if I was going to pick a blues artist who impact is most felt in rock and roll, John Lee Hooker would certainly be in the running.

"The Hook's" influence can be heard in bands like Led Zeppelin, the Doors, ZZ Top, the Yardbirds, the Rolling Stones, the Animals, Canned Heat and countless others who took his uniquely primal and "boogie-ing" style of the blues to heart and made it their own. It's a very unique style, but also a very powerful, and even visceral one... that only becomes more intense when performed by the man himself.

I'm not entirely sure where this clip originates, but thanks to julianas and Youtube it's one of countless great clips of John Lee Hooker doing what he does best: singing the blues. The song is one of my favorites as well, "Serves Me Right to Suffer" (Johnny Winter plays a killer version of this one too).

Although he's great with a band too, I actually prefer John Lee Hooker playing in this solo setting with just his guitar and his voice. There's something far more personal and powerful about a song like this one when performed in such a minimal instrumentation. I like my blues to be gritty and authentic and although there are lots of comparable blues players out there, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, I don't think too many come close to John Lee Hooker in terms of grit and authenticity. Like Robert Johnson, Son House and so many others, he is just the blues through and through

There's something to be said about Hooker's guitar work too, which is unique and designed to flow with the emotion of the song as opposed to stick to any strict style or setting. He playing is more than just accompaniment... it's lead, it's rhythm and it's soul all rolled into one creating something completely unique, dynamic and raw.

It's easy to see why so many have been influenced by the music of John Lee Hooker over the years and I think that comes through in this clip. There's plenty more out there so take some time to check them out, and the Hook's albums (there are tons of them as well) as he's both a blues, and a rock and roll legend.

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