Canned Heat is the 1967 debut album by Canned Heat. It was released shortly after their appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival, and features performances of several blues covers.
This debut long-player from Canned Heat was issued shortly after their appearance at the Monterey International Pop Music Festival. That performance, for all intents and purposes, was not only the combo's entrée into the burgeoning underground rock & roll scene, but was also among the first high-profile showcases to garner national and international attention.
The quartet featured on Canned Heat (1967) includes the unique personnel of Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson (guitar/vocals), Larry "The Mole" Taylor (bass), Henry "Sunflower" Vestine (guitar), Bob "The Bear" Hite (vocals), and Frank Cook (drums). Cook's tenure with the Heat would be exceedingly brief, however, as he was replaced by Aldolfo "Fido" Dela Parra (drums) a few months later.
Although their blues might have suggested that the aggregate hailed from the likes of Chicago or Memphis, Canned Heat actually formed in the Los Angeles suburb of Topanga Canyon, where they were contemporaries of other up-and-coming rockers Spirit and Kaleidoscope. Wilson and Hite's almost scholarly approach created a unique synthesis when blended with the band's amplified rock & roll. After their initial studio sessions in April of 1967 produced favorable demos, they returned several weeks later to begin work in earnest on this platter.
The dearth of original material on Canned Heat was less of a result of any songwriting deficiencies, but rather exemplifies their authentic renderings of traditionals such as the open-throttled boogie of "Rollin' and Tumblin'" -- which is rightfully recognized as having been derived from the Muddy Waters arrangement. Similarly, a rousing reading of Robert Johnson's "Dust My Broom" is co-credited to Elmore James.
Blues aficionados will undoubtedly notice references to a pair of Howlin' Wolf classics -- "Smokestack Lightning" as well as "I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)" -- as part of the rambling "Road Song." While decidedly more obscure to the casual listener, Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones "Story of My Life" is both a high point on this recording, as well as one of the fiercest renditions ever committed to tape. Until a thorough overhaul of Canned Heat's catalog materializes, this title can be found on the Canned Heat/Boogie With Canned Heat (2003) two-fer that couples this title with their 1968 follow-up.
Certainly their hearts were in the right place. Canned Heat's debut album -- released shortly after their appearance at Monterey -- was every bit as deep into the roots of the blues as any other combo of the time mining similar turf, with the exception of the original Paul Butterfield band. Hite was nicknamed "The Bear" and stalked the stage in the time-honored tradition of Howlin' Wolf and other large-proportioned bluesmen.
Wilson was an extraordinary harmonica player, with a fat tone and great vibrato. His work on guitar, especially in open tunings (he played on Son House's rediscovery recordings of the mid-'60s, incidentally) gave the band a depth and texture that most other rhythm players could only aspire to. Henry Vestine -- another dyed-in-the-wool record collector -- was the West Coast's answer to Michael Bloomfield and capable of fretboard fireworks at a moment's notice.
Canned Heat's breakthrough moment occurred with the release of their second album, establishing them with hippie ballroom audiences as the "kings of the boogie." As a way of paying homage to the musician they got the idea from in the first place, they later collaborated on an album with John Lee Hooker that was one of the elder bluesman's most successful outings with a young white (or black, for that matter) combo backing him up. After two big chart hits with "Goin' Up the Country" and an explosive version of Wilbert Harrison's "Let's Work Together," Wilson died under mysterious (probably drug-related) circumstances in 1970, and Hite carried on with various reconstituted versions of the band until his death just before a show in 1981, from a heart seizure.
♣ Bob Hite – vocals
♣ Alan Wilson – rhythm and slide guitar, vocals, harmonica
♣ Henry Vestine – lead guitar
♣ Larry Taylor – bass
♣ Frank Cook – drums
♣ Ray Johnson (brother of Plas Johnson) – piano
01. "Rollin' and Tumblin'" (Muddy Waters) – 3:11
02. "Bullfrog Blues" (Canned Heat) – 2:20
03. "Evil Is Going On" (Willie Dixon) – 2:24
04. "Goin' Down Slow" (James Oden) – 3:48
05. "Catfish Blues" (Robert Petway) – 6:48
06. "Dust My Broom" (Robert Johnson, Elmore James) – 3:18
07. "Help Me" (Sonny Boy Williamson II) – 3:12
08. "Big Road Blues" (Tommy Johnson) – 3:15
09. "The Story of My Life" (Guitar Slim) – 3:43
10. "The Road Song" (Floyd Jones) – 3:16
11. "Rich Woman" (Dorothy LaBostrie, McKinley Millet) – 3:04
Canned Heat, WBCN Studios
Boston, MA, 1972-02-22
Source: FM, Quality: A
01.Back On The Road Again
05I Don't KNow What I'll Do With Myself
07.I Feel So Bad
10.Big City (splice)
11.Big City pt.2
13.My Love For You Won't Grow Cold
07.Let's Work Together
08.Let's Work Together pt.2
10.A Long Way From L.A
12.Have You Ever Loved A Women?
13.Radio AD for Canned Heat at the Electric Ballroom,Dallas,TX
Part 1: Link
Part 2: Link