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January/February 1999

Earl Hooker
The Moon is Rising
Arhoolie Records

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Earl Hooker, The Moon Is Rising (Arhoolie 468; 78:58). Remarkable document of the great Chicago guitarist, recorded in Berkeley during the summer of 1969, less than two years before Hooker died from tuberculosis. Eight tracks feature the guitarist interacting with several younger, white blues musicians on the West Coast, including organist Steve Miller, who sings on two tracks. Hooker demonstrates some distinctive slide work on "Earl's Blues" and the countrified "Guitar Rag." His attack on "Conversion Blues" is far more savage. Four additional tracks recorded live by Dick Shurman at Theresa's Lounge on Chicago's South Side show Hooker stretching in a jazzy vein on a swinging "Frosty" and the jump blues instrumental, "Swingin' At Theresa's." Two other previously unissued studio tracks recorded in Chicago feature Carey Bell on harmonica and Freddie Roulette on pedal steel guitar.

Originally published in January/February 1999
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