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Earl Hooker

If there was a more immaculate slide guitarist residing in Chicago during the 1950s and '60s than Earl Hooker, his name has yet to surface. Boasting a fretboard touch so smooth and clean that every note rang as clear and precise as a bell, Hooker was an endlessly inventive axeman who would likely have been a star had his modest vocal abilities matched his instrumental prowess and had he not been dogged by tuberculosis (it killed him at age 41).

Born in the Mississippi Delta, Hooker arrived in Chicago as a child. There he was influenced by another slide wizard, veteran Robert Nighthawk. But Hooker never remained still for long. He ran away from home at age 13, journeying to Mississippi. After another stint in Chicago, he rambled back to the Delta again, playing with Ike Turner and Sonny Boy Williamson. Hooker made his first recordings in 1952 and 1953 for Rockin', King, and Sun. At the latter, he recorded some terrific sides with pianist Pinetop Perkins (Sam Phillips inexplicably sat on Hooker's blazing rendition of "The Hucklebuck").

Back in Chicago again, Hooker's dazzling dexterity was intermittently showcased on singles for Argo, C.J., and Bea & Baby during the mid- to late '50s before he joined forces with producer Mel London (owner of the Chief and Age logos) in 1959. For the next four years, he recorded both as sideman and leader for the producer, backing Junior Wells, Lillian Offitt, Ricky Allen, and A.C. Reed and cutting his own sizzling instrumentals ("Blue Guitar," "Blues in D-Natural"). He also contributed pungent slide work to Muddy Waters' Chess waxing "You Shook Me." Opportunities to record grew sparse after Age folded; Hooker made some tantalizing sides for Sauk City, WI's Cuca Records from 1964 to 1968 (several featuring steel guitar virtuoso Freddie Roulette).

Hooker's amazing prowess (he even managed to make the dreaded wah-wah pedal a viable blues tool) finally drew increased attention during the late '60s. He cut LPs for Arhoolie, ABC-BluesWay, and Blue Thumb that didn't equal what he'd done at Age, but they did serve to introduce Hooker to an audience outside Chicago and wherever his frequent travels deposited him. But tuberculosis halted his wandering ways permanently in 1970. ~ Bill Dahl
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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Jonnn
Johnny winter tobco road
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Heavy, heavt, heavy...mmmm !
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Sounds a lot like B.B. GREAT STUFF
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Earl Hooker is not unknown to blues afficiandos but should have become a household name if the guitarists who lifted his hooks were to be honest with themselves.
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wooooooh
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Lol...I wonder if he drove a big ole convertible caddy.
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Hot damn!!
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very good blues
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Like.
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nice
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Now i see where Booker T got there inspiration for Green Onions
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Mr.hooker could pick a guitar.
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Awesome clean sound!
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Myyyyyyyy GOODness!!! :-D
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littlerichar d r a t p a w
no mention of John lee in his bio, cuz he sing just like him. His sound is similar as well.
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bill9870
Wow!
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Its sad now in day when I listen to music. They dont make music like this anymore. Its pretty sad.
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Will You MARRY ME Earl H O O K E R ? I loves u so much but we just
can't get together.... play on brother xo 1,000 Xs Call me sometime.... .
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Smooth man
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I don't mind his voice
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cef1953
Play that gee tar man !! Awesome..
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missisppmudd
LOVE IT!!!
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ohigh6
great
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da_crazinato r
Oh yeah :)!
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Diggin it.
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That's what I'm talking about.
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I saw two bugs fighting over a Roach once.
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dems da blues...
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abuemily
Lawdy, it just don't get no better than this!
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I can't hear no bass either....wa i t a minute let me take my football helmet off! Whew, that's better! Always forget to take that bugger off!
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What Great taste!
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Nice. Very nice.
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His vocals sound like a young BB King at times, but better. I don't know why the review questions them.
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Perfect <3
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Amazing tone. Love this guy's playing.
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Great stuff!
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Wicked wah-wah!
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Don't know @jameslee... I can't hear the bass either? Maybe time to upgrade my speakers?
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arcsalot2003
@johnnyohani a n , who's comment was "Hows come dare ain't no bass?", first off, there is bass (sounds like an upright to boot), secondly, do keep your ignorance under control, will ya?
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gremlin98121
Gone. "but we will never forget"!!!!
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httphttp://w w w . p a n d o r a . c o m / m u s i c / a l b u m / e a r l + h o o k e r / 2 + b u g s + r o a c h : / / w w w . p h t t p : / / w w w . p a n d o r a . c o m / m u s i c / a l b u m / e a r l + h o o k e r / b l u e + g u i t a r a n d o r a . c o m / m u s i c / a l b u m / e a r h t t p : / / w w w . p a n d o r a . c o m / m u s i c / a l b u m / e a r l + h o o k e r / i n t r o d u c t i o n + t o + e a r l + h o o k e r l + h o o k e r / s i m p l y + b e s t
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johnnyohania n
Hows come dare ain't no bass?
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I heard him live at a 10 hour 69 concert in Chicago called Bringing the Blues back home. Everyone played, but Earl Knocked everyone out with his superlative play.
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rndp100
Every bit a giant of Chicago blues guitar as Otis, Buddy, Magic Sam. Vocal shyness and short life robbed him of more deserved recognition.
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get stoned dude!!!
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Earl Hooker does great job on "Huckelbuck"
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Earl Hooker played guitar like nobody else--he had great taste and an incredible touch.
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every song i hear by earl hooker is daam good. great blues. i dig pandora.
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takes me back to the hood in my teen years
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Impressive.

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