Monday, June 17, 2013

Album Review: "Living The Blues" by Canned Heat

Some time back, I did a review on Hooker'n'Heat by John Lee Hooker and Canned Heat. Since then my love of the blues has really become a thing. In the time between then and now, I have gotten a bit more by John Lee Hooker and now it's time to turn my attention towards the other half of that album, Canned Heat.

The first Canned Heat record that I'm going to look at is their 1968 Double Album, "Living The Blues." In the current day and age where an album can be anywhere from 30 to 80 minutes on a single disc, if even on a disc at all, it can be easy to forget that there was a time when albums were limited to a mere 45 minutes and that when a band released more material than that, the records had to come with two discs. Mostly double album sets have been the purview of live albums, but there are few things cooler in this world than a properly done double record. Thankfully, this one does not disappoint.

On the disc one there are eight tracks full of bluesy leads, sad lyrics, and a nice explanation as to what boogie is. On disc two there are two tracks called "Refried Boogie Part 1" and "Refried Boogie Part 2." (Those, like the closing track on disc one are a bit long, they clock in over twenty minutes long.)

This album is fun and groovy. I suppose there is very little else in the world anybody could ask for in a boogie record? Or blues, or boogie rock, or whatever else Canned Heat might be. On significant portions of this album guest players appear to embiggen some of the tracks. John Mayall appears on piano on two of the songs even.

One of Canned Heat's best known songs, "Going Up The Country" graces disc one, and it was the only song on this album that I was familiar with at all. Though, what I find the most enjoyable are the final three tracks, the very long songs.

"Refried Boogie" (which is just one song that encompassed both sides of disc two) was recorded entirely live and is quite loose and jammy. In the beginning of the first one, they go into a John Lee Hooker track for a few bars and then back to riffing.

All in all, this is a fun record that should appease most fans of classic rock or boogie blues, but get Hooker'n'Heat first.

Year: 1968
Genre: Blues


1) Pony Blues
2) My Mistake
3) Sandy's Blues
4) Going Up The Country
5) Walking By Myself
6) Boogie Music
7) One Kind Favor
8) Parthenogenesis
9) Refried Boogie Part 1
10) Refried Boogie Part 2

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