John Lee Hooker: Cold as Ice

A profoundly soulful and charismatic front man (closer in style to vintage Johnny Guitar Watson or Lou Rawls than to his daddy, the late, great John Lee Hooker), Junior also acquits himself as an accomplished songwriter and lyricist with an earthy, down-home sense of humor on his Telarc debut.

Backed by the punchy Hot Sauce Horns, the tight rhythm section of keyboardist Will Griffin, bassist Frank Thibeaux and drummer Michael Skinner as well as the potent two-guitar tandem of rhythm player Jeffrey James Horan and outstanding soloist John Garcia Jr., Hooker lays down the law in convincing fashion on the rollicking title track, the defiant slow blues “You Blew It Baby” and two biting indictments on love, “Fed Up” and “Trapped.”

The reggae-fueled “Do Daddy” is his vividly rendered requiem for his famous father. He also covers his dad’s classic slow blues “I’m in the Mood.” “4 Hours Straight/Blues Man” is an X-rated riot in the audacious spirit of Memphis bluesman Bobby Rush.