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Canned Heat

A hard-luck blues band of the '60s, Canned Heat was founded by blues historians and record collectors Alan Wilson and Bob Hite. They seemed to be on the right track and played all the right festivals (including Monterey and Woodstock, making it very prominently into the documentaries about both) but somehow never found a lasting audience.

Certainly their hearts were in the right place. Canned Heat's debut album -- released shortly after their appearance at Monterey -- was every bit as deep into the roots of the blues as any other combo of the time mining similar turf, with the exception of the original Paul Butterfield band. Hite was nicknamed "The Bear" and stalked the stage in the time-honored tradition of Howlin' Wolf and other large-proportioned bluesmen. Wilson was an extraordinary harmonica player, with a fat tone and great vibrato. His work on guitar, especially in open tunings (he played on Son House's rediscovery recordings of the mid-'60s, incidentally) gave the band a depth and texture that most other rhythm players could only aspire to. Henry Vestine -- another dyed-in-the-wool record collector -- was the West Coast's answer to Michael Bloomfield and capable of fretboard fireworks at a moment's notice.

Canned Heat's breakthrough moment occurred with the release of their second album, establishing them with hippie ballroom audiences as the "kings of the boogie." As a way of paying homage to the musician they got the idea from in the first place, they later collaborated on an album with John Lee Hooker that was one of the elder bluesman's most successful outings with a young white (or black, for that matter) combo backing him up. After two big chart hits with "Goin' Up the Country" and an explosive version of Wilbert Harrison's "Let's Work Together," Wilson died under mysterious (probably drug-related) circumstances in 1970, and Hite carried on with various reconstituted versions of the band until his death just before a show in 1981, from a heart seizure.

Still, the surviving members -- led by drummer Adolfo "Fito" de la Parra -- continued touring and recording, recruiting new vocalist Walter Trout; he was replaced in 1985 by James Thornbury, who fronted the band for the next decade. After Thornbury exited in 1995, Canned Heat tapped Robert Lucas to assume lead vocal duties; they soon recorded The Canned Heat Blues Band, which sadly was Vestine's last recording with the group -- he died in Paris in October 1997 in the wake of the band's recent tour. Boogie 2000 followed two years later. ~ Cub Koda & Bruce Eder, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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Had the pleasure to see this Canned heat in the 70's. I think i was only 14. with Country Joe,Shanna,T h e Chamber Brothers and about 5 more bands.
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I love them ��
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Wow, Kitty, Daisy and Luis covered this, I didn't realize this
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saw them at the Adelanto CA. blues fest on may 24th, they still KICK
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Rusty Cooley is better
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I don't know what else to say for some strange reason I just love this band and I just can't seem to explain why. Just love that San Fran Booggie wooggie I guess
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On The Road Again: EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT BAND. :-)
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I can chop some wood playing Canned heat cmon.....cmo n
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Whoops. They were playing with Holland K Smith, not Mike Morgan. In the words of The Bear, "You know what I've been smoking".
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Saw them at Texas Internationa l Pop Festival. This band ignited my 50+ year love affair with the blues. Had a chance to smoke one backstage with Fito when they played Caravan of Dreams in Ft Worth. Believe they had Mike Morgan playing with them that might.
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THE BEAR. SUNFLOWER. BLIND OWL. MOLE FITO. CANNED HEAT
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All the way. From south of the border we got old Fito
DeLaParra
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Lawd have mercy on my wicked son..
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I've Got My Eyes On You
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While it was John Baldry who somehow got me to really explore the blues, I've always love Canned Heat. Going up the Country, On the Road Again, World in a Jug, so much good stuff. Can't beat it.
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Damn thems blues from them pioneers is too damn GOOD! !!
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sckarekrow
Them damn blues....
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The original lineup with Sunflower, Blind Owl, The Mole and The Bear - and Fito, of course - was a real entertaining band that could stretch an old blues number into a boogeying good time. No slam against a very good talent like Walter Trout, but sometimes the original is better than the redo. That said, I would add that Harvey Mandel provided some great guitar playing when he briefly replaced Vestine.
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A very fun show from my past: Thanksgiving week end in Chicago, saw Canned Heat and Tim Buckley. Mike Bloomfield came out and jammed with the Heat. Met Hendrix that night as well.
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Love them ...saw them not that long ago in SF...very cool
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When the Owl died so did the Heat.
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Cool love it
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Canned Heat was not a blues band but a very good band that played a rock and roll variation of the blues. This track Creole Queen does not sound like either Bear on vocals or Vestine and Wilson on guitars but more like the latter incarnation after Bear's death and the departure of both Vestine and Wilson. That said, the 1st and 2nd lineups of the band were very good and put on many memorable shows. It''s sad that Al Wilson, aka Blind Owl, doesn't get the recognition he deserves.
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very good
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I can't believe comments under lyrics too many youngsters don't get it or them.next to Ten Years After,Santan a Country Joe and the fish(check out his bio) C.Heat great jams on woodstock album or in documentary. w a t c h and learn! 3 days of fun and music...
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One of the best!
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lol
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I met Lucas a few times...
Great guy with a God given gift. ..
Like so many he burned out tooo young
I hope your singin with your Dad now Lucas
Thanks for the love to this depressed planet man.



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that flute is so light and happy ...hard to believe it's out of a blues band..song plays ..blues disappear.
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Check out clips of Canned Heat at Woodstock. Epic.
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The Dick Panthers are better.
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Hard to find better blues !
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When MUSIC was Music, the real thing just Raw and Great !!
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I love this song! That voice and flute work so well togeather
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Terrific, undervalued band.
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corinnavazqu e z
BLUES BLUES BLUES!!!
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corinnavazqu e z
Check out The Stems Blues Band tomorrow night March 12th at Maggie Malone's in L A!!!
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ewaybevinn
The Probably Drug Related comment above is uncalled for.
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erandybowles
With Robert Lucas singing lead, they did Let's Work Together for a Target commercial, and it became popular again! It featured Harvey Mandel, Fito and I think Larry Taylor.
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Never heard a better version of Work Together , and there's a number of them .
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erandybowles
I got to meet Bob The Bear Hite in circa 1972 and he was very sweet! Fast forward many years; I got to meet Fito, Henry, Robert Lucas (not friendly), Junior Watson and (fairly short-term) bassist Mark Pocket Goldberg who has his own website. I love Canned Heat.
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roglaf1952
Future blues ..check this album out...... kids
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dsusman98
.....and don't forget to boogie....
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I don't know how that boy keep up with me but he do! :john lee on blind owl
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sue.clifton7 3
*****
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brendao37
love the hippie flute too!
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brendao37
got a greatest hits cd from a friend long time ago. good cd. miss my friend
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suicide757
hey now this ismusic.
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Blind Owl Al Wilson was a very talented songwriter, guitarist and singer. An integral part of Canned Heat when this song was recorded.
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these guys know how to play the blues real good!!!!!!!
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