For those of you that do not know John Lee Hooker Jr., this is a paragraph just for you. This CD is by the son of John Lee Hooker it's also about his life, to some extent. It's so cool. The son of the great is making a very good name for himself. Not in a cheap sensational way, in a way that has total respect for the music that John Lee Hooker helped to make famous and the influence of a changing society and a few decades of time. The Jr. has it good, and " it " is an intangible that blues fans realize when " it " grips them.
Cold As Ice turns the page and is the second release from John Lee Hooker Jr. . The first one, "Blues with a Vengeance" won John Lee and the band a Blues Music Award (formerly named a "Handy Award"). Once you blast off with that type of power it gets might cold in the stratosphere. The cover art features John Lee in a field of ice dressed to the nines in all white. In case you did not know, John Lee Hooker Jr. is the "Black Liberachi". (correct the spelling there)
The second release might not receive the same awards but I'm hoping it is the start of a long string of new releases. John Lee Jr. has a great imagination, a great voice, and a great band. "Cold As Ice" is a bit slower tempo with a more Jazzy taste and a definite hint of Mo Town. John Lee sings 5 of his 12 cuts about the trials and tribulation with his women. At least 3 songs are about bad women and 2 are about good women. Hey, chicks will do that to a dude. John Lee has some of the most refreshing new songs I've heard in a long time. He is very creative and sings 21 Century lyrics.
He starts off with, "You Blew it Baby" a song about his woman leaving him for a recent prison parolee. John Lee rips her a new one and lays it all out for her in a most creative way. Amongst other things he explains, "She's giving up a veteran for a beginner." Johnny is "Fed Up" , the second cut starts out at the Public Library, of all places to start a blues Song. This is another example why John Lee Hooker Jr is on the cutting edges of Blues in the 21 century. He is in a traveling mood and sings about his "so called friends" that basically can't keep things real and he is ready to move on.
"Cold as Ice" is sorta jazzy and it fits in real nicely. It's a story about; I'm guessing his ex-wife, who his daddy called "Cold As Ice". Junior wishes he had listened to his father on that one but you can bet he enjoyed himself along the way. The horn section is named "Hot Sauce" cause, according to John Lee, "they don't get any better". In my personal opinion I have to agree. This reviewer loves a harmonica, and if ya can't have that, ya should have some kick ass horns. This horn crew doesn't mess around; they hit all the right notes and help bring the whole thing together.
"Somebody's Out To Get Me" It's a tune about being haunted from his past and he makes a great point singing, "The only time you should be looking down on somebody is to pick them up." Johnny told me that it was not easy being him, but I believe he will triumph and continue to amaze us with his blues. Blues music ain't an easy business.
"Do Daddy" is a great song about Johnny's dad. It's called Do Daddy because, according to his Great Grandaughter, Lil' Courtney, " he did everything he said he would do". It gives some great insight to John Lee Hooker from his family perspective. Listen to the words, just incase ya wanna interview Junior about his dad. The kid sings this song so well.
"What Till My Change Comes"…….hasn't seen his family since the reading of the will, and he is having serious sad feelings about suicide, shit the man about declares bankruptcy, but it's only a song and a really good one at that.
"4 Hours Straight / Blues Man"….That is the John Lee I know, Da Ladies Man is gonna make love to one lucky woman for 4 straight hours. Ya get some good solos from the band in this one, it's long play baby 8 minutes 40 seconds. Hooker seems like he is hypnotizing his prey.
"Trapped" is a funky tune with a touch of the 70's Motown. Hook is once again talking about being "Trapped" in a bad love affair. John Lee's humor comes out in this one with some funny lyrics.
"I'm in the Mood" is a good Chicago blues song, with some teeth and grit that will take ya down the back streets with some soulful guitar from the young Jeffery James Horan. This kid can tear it up, trust me on that one. You will notice his guitar, in various ways on this release.
"I Got To Be Me" is like something from a steppers set or a slow dance at an elegant dinner. This is a very cool "quiet storm" type of hit. This song is put together very well, I really like the comfort and ease in which it all comes together. This must be another original song. This is totally smooth as ice. The older set will really like this with some great piano solos. It really creates a vision.
# 11, "Oh Baby" is very different from the previous song and is Chicago style Blues to the core. Johnny leaves his mark, but is yet to actually frequent the Chicago Market. He has some learning to do here. In the last tune, he ends it with a 'Cha Cha'. John Lee talks about his baby in , "Eva' body Pays Attention", and she is a beauty queen. It's a cha cha, and his woman loves to dance, and when she does, "everybody pays attention", but when she makes love ,John Lee is the only one that gets to pay attention.
This CD and artist is highly recommended. Is there some novelty to this? Sure there is but honestly, John Lee Hooker Junior really is " that " good and is, a 21st Century Bluesman. Get his first release, "Blues with a Vengence", and this one. To me it's the new face of the blues. Add John Lee Hooker Jr. to your radar screen.
Do a Google search for " John Lee Hooker Jr. " the critics love him !