Beginnings John Lee Hooker


Ace Records
Catalogue Id:

Celebrating the 75th anniversary of three top 10 R&B singles - “Hobo Blues”, “Hoogie Boogie” and “Crawlin’ King Snake.” This 4-track EP includes the bonus track, “Hastings Street Boogie,” which is also celebrating its 75th anniversary.

It was sixty years ago, in June 1964, when John Lee Hooker entered the British singles charts for the first time with “Dimples,” peaking at #23. The track had been cut for the Vee-Jay label in America some eight years prior in Chicago. “Boom Boom,” issued in the UK in 1963, had already caught the ears and feet of the nascent mod movement. Both songs became live staples on the British blues scene, with The Animals covering both on their debut UK LP issued later in 1964.

But in 1952, way before the sharp-suited mods were attracted to John Lee Hooker’s equally well-cut look and infectious music, the British Vogue label had issued “Hoogie Boogie,” recorded in 1949, on a 78rpm disc. Blues music was for the aficionado back then, and the four tracks on this EP hark back to those earliest recordings by John Lee Hooker. “Hobo Blues,” “Hoogie Boogie,” and “Crawlin’ King Snake” all went Top 10 in the US R&B chart in 1949.

This is unadorned John Lee Hooker, getting to the heart of his blues and boogie, just guitar, vocal, and tapping foot, 15 years before his music caught the ears of a wider and enthusiastic British audience. Decades may have passed, but the music remains fresh and vital.

This EP is housed in a beautiful period-era sleeve drawn and designed by Niall McCormack.


Track listing


Side 1

Side 2

  • 01 Preview Crawlin' King Snake

  • 02 Preview Hastings Street Boogie (extended take)

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