Down Beat - 19604 Stars
- Very Good - "..Hooker may well be the most important blues singer of our time...he manages to communicate true emotional experiences in a convincing fashion.."
Mojo (Publisher) - 10/01, p.169
"...Pairs up 2 excellent albums...It was here that Hooker developed the more ruminative side of his work..."
Personnel: John Lee Hooker (vocals, guitar), Sam Jones (bass), Louis Hayes (drums).
Recorded in New York City on February 9, 1960. This material includes everything from Hooker's first 2 Riverside releases from 1959 and 1960 except 4 tracks. THAT'S MY STORY is available separately on CD and cassette. Includes original liner notes by Orrin Keepnews.
Digital remastering by Phil De Lancie (1991, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley).
Also available with JOHN LEE HOOKER SINGS THE BLUES on 1 CD.
Personnel: John Lee Hooker (vocals, guitar); Sam Jones (bass); Louis Hayes
Recorded at Reeves Sound Studios, New York, New York on February 9, 1960. Originally released on Riverside (12-321). Includes original liner notes by Orrin Keepnews.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1991, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Although Orrin Keepnews' Riverside Records was primarily a jazz label, the company dabbled in blues in the 1960s -- and one of the bluesmen who recorded for Riverside was John Lee Hooker. Recorded in 1960, this Keepnews-produced session came at a time when Hooker was signed to Vee-Jay. The last thing Keepnews wanted to do was emulate Hooker's electric-oriented, very amplified Vee-Jay output, which fared well among rock and R&B audiences. Keepnews had an acoustic country blues vision for the bluesman, and That's My Story favors a raw, stripped-down, bare-bones approach -- no electric guitar, no distortion, no singles aimed at rock & rollers. Over the years, Hooker fans have debated the merits of his Riverside albums. Some much prefer him in an electric setting; others applaud the rural vision that Keepnews had for him. But, truth be told, both approaches are equally valid. While many of his electric recordings are stunning, he is also well served by the rawness that Keepnews goes for on That's My Story. From the sobering "Gonna Use My Rod" (which finds Hooker warning that he will shoot anyone who fools around with his wife) to the gospel-themed "One of These Days," Hooker's performances are often compelling. Most of the time, he is joined by two jazz musicians, acoustic bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes, both Cannonball Adderley sidemen at the time. However, the blues giant is unaccompanied on a few selections, including the autobiographical title song and the overtly political "Democrat Man" (a passionate endorsement of the Democratic Party). While That's My Story falls short of essential, it is a solid, rewarding product of Hooker's association with Keepnews and Riverside Records. ~ Alex Henderson