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Episode #637 – John Lee Hooker: 1949-51

Air Week: July 18-24, 2022

John Lee Hooker: 1949-51

John Lee Hooker was one of the most influential and important musicians of the 20th Century. He single-handedly invented his own electric guitar boogie sound, which he let loose on the world with his first single, “Boogie Chillen'” in 1948. By early 1949, it was a number one R&B hit and Hooker was on his way to infamy. He took the Delta Blues he had learned growing up from his step-father, William Moore and his sister’s boyfriend, Tony Hollins and turned it upside down, creating his own distinct style. A style that was often copied, but never fully coped. Hooker knew that he wasn’t going to make any money getting stuck in record company contracts, so he would record for any company that would pay him up front. He waxed for numerous labels during the late 1940s and early ’50s and recorded under several pseudonyms, in order to protect himself from lawsuits. This week, Matt The Cat digs deep into John Lee Hooker’s early work for the Modern, Sensation, King, Staff and Chess labels as we feature his most important records from 1948-51. This is where it all began for the consummate “boogie man.” It’s in ’em and it’s got to come out, this week on the “Juke In The Back.”

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