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John Lee Hooker and Santana – Blues Boogie Jam

Fair warning: it’s likely your feet won’t stop moving once you start listening to this number. This Blues Video of the Week features none other than the “King of the Boogie” himself, John Lee Hooker, accompanied by Carlos Santana, and others. This performance of Blues Boogie Jam was recorded live on July 18, 1986 at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco.  Right after that song, Etta James was introduced on stage by Bill Graham, but we’ll leave that gem for another day.

With few to no chord progressions, John Lee Hooker just hits a groove and puts the lyrics in whenever he wants to, and the rest of the band follows along, while the crowd basks in pure thrill. While he starts off riffing while sitting down, he eventually gets up and joins the crowd in revelry. He walks around the stage while the rest of the band, including powerful blues harp player Paul Butterfield, carried the tune. 

Halfway through we get a short but powerful solo from Santana, who throughout the set seems to be outright delighted to be sharing the stage with such a magnanimous figure. Butterfield also seems to have no problem keeping up with Hooker, who was notoriously difficult to accompany, in part due to his disregard of song form. And as Elvin Bishop is joining the band and finishing off the set, John Lee Hooker starts to walk off stage and leaves the rest of the players to finish the song, like he very often did.

 

 

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