Sunday, January 3, 2010
Canned HEAT - (Kings of the Boogie) Dog House Blues 1982
Formed by three avid blues record collectors, Canned Heat reformatted the sound of those beloved old 78s into ragged electric guitar boogies that fit the gestalt of the Woodstock generation. Guitarist and harmonica player Alan Wilson, singer Bob Hite, and guitarist Henry Vestine took their record collecting seriously, lifting the quill section from Texas songster Henry Thomas' 1920s recording of "Bull Doze Blues" note for note to form the intro to "Going Up the Country," one of Canned Heat's most enduring songs. At its best, Canned Heat translated an enthusiasm for old blues into a bright, radio-friendly history lesson, and at its worst, it collapsed into being just another white blues boogie band. This set, originally released in 1981, was the last Canned Heat studio album to feature involvement from Hite, who was found dead from an apparent drug overdose on April 5 of that year, and it was also the last studio effort by the band for some seven years. It's actually a fairly energetic album, with the opener, "Kings of the Boogie," a cover of "So Fine," and a grinding "Dog House Blues" being the highlights, although nothing here will change anyone's take on this fairly one-dimensional band. Kings of the Boogie has also been released under the title Dog House Blues.
By Steve Leggett, All Music Guide.
Featuring the final recordings with Bob Hite alongside new members, "Kings Of The Boogie" (it's original title) is clearly a transitional album. Many felt Canned Heat just couldn't possibly carry on with the same importance and vitality without Hite, and this release did little to dispel those notions. Not because it's a weak album, it's absolutely not; it's because of the emotion tied to the late Hite. Newcomers to the Heat will probably feel the Hite-involved cuts are a notch below the other ones, but to the hardcore longtime fans such an opinion would be considered blasphemy. And this album didn't reach many new fans due to crap distribution and basically played to the following who didn't pay much attention to the new members as they mourned Bob's untimely passing.
A shame, really, as this album is actually better than any of the preceding several Heat studio albums: it is a lot more energetic and vital and set a new standard for the ongoing Canned Heat. It would be a long seven years before the band would return with an all-new studio album, but in that time Fito and crew had won over the old fans and attracted droves of new ones to the boogie. Canned Heat not only survived, they got better. To this day "Kings Of The Boogie" or "Dog House Blues" (or whatever else it may be called) is still somewhat lost in the shuffle. But it's the sound of an enormously gifted band picking up the pieces and should not be ignored.
Fito de la Parra- Drums
Mike Halby- Guitar, Vocals
Bob Hite- Vocals, Harmonica
Rick Kellog- Harb, Vocals
Ernie Rodriguez- Bass, Vocals
Henry Vestine- Guitar
A1 Kings of the Boogie 3:03
A2 Stoned Bad Street Fighting Man 3:33
A3 So Fine 3:15
A4 You Can't Get Close to Me 3:29
A5 Hell's Just Down the Road 3:39
B1 I Was Wrong 3:46
B2 Little Crystal 4:16
B3 Dog House Blues 2:50
B4 Sleepy Hollow Baby 3:19
B5 Chicken Shack 2:45