.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/582c0411bad571e854746d0e7c272bbdf4ff117b.jpg The Best Of Friends

John Lee Hooker

The Best Of Friends

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
November 17, 1998

For half a century, the much-recorded bluesman John Lee Hooker has cut music so primal, it blurs into itself — his albums often seem interchangeable, his great signature songs recorded to the nth. He defeats this tendency with The Best of Friends, a compilation on which such admiring colleagues as Eric Clapton, Jimmie Vaughan and Bonnie Raitt help him reprise the likes of "Boogie Chillen," "Boom Boom" and "I'm in the Mood," respectively. Three of the album's tracks, among them the Grammy-winning Raitt duet, go back to 1989's mostly collaborative The Healer. Others cherry-pick his Nineties catalog, and three, including the pace-setting "Boogie Chillen," were cut for this project.

Rock & rollers cotton to Hooker because, like Elmore James and, for that matter, Chuck Berry, he has a hook: the boogie beat, a vamping drone that's propulsive at any speed. But reduced to slow one-chord guitar and ageless Delta vocals, as on this album's solo showpiece, "Tupelo," his groove can be pretty foreboding even though its darkness is full of subtle color. The guests, all instrumental except for Raitt and his old fan Van Morrison, open it up. Special kudos to Hispanic interpreters Los Lobos, who rock into his boogie, and Carlos Santana, who, with two different bands, bends "The Healer" and "Chill Out" into polyrhythmic workouts. And, hey, give the drummers some — eight, all told, every one of a single mind and a single beat, a beat that gathers detail only when it's stated outright.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Whoomp! (There It Is)”

    Tag Team | 1993

    Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com