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John Lee Hooker - Face To Face

John Lee Hooker - Face To Face

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In June 2001, at the time of his death at the ripe old age of 83, John Lee Hooker had been recording material for a new album. Much like his 1989 comeback outing The Healer — as well as everything he released in the intervening years — the collection, which appropriately is titled Face to Face, was designed to pair Hooker with a plethora of special guests.alt Still, it was far from complete, and after his passing it took over two years to put the finishing touches upon the project.
It’s certainly true that most posthumously completed albums of this sort wind up sounding forced, and the collaborations frequently feel disconnected and out of place. In other words, there are plenty of places where Face to Face seriously could have gone astray, but credit must be given to his daughter Zakiya Hooker and producer Ollan Christopher Bell, who took painstaking efforts to keep the late bluesman’s voice and vision intact, turning the song cycle into what undoubtedly is the must- have blues album of the year.
In fact, Face to Face actually works better than any of Hooker’s recent celebrity-studded outings. Though the all-star cast of Jack Casady, Johnnie Johnson, George Thorogood, Tony Saunders, Warren Haynes, Dickey Betts, Elvin Bishop, Johnny Winter, and Van Morrison combines its efforts to flavor Hooker’s songs, its collective contributions are wholly unobtrusive. It could be anyone adding the exquisite guitar, bass, and keyboard accompaniments to the album’s 15 tracks; that they happen to be such well-known performers merely makes the album marketable on a broader scale. Rather than undermine the proceedings, the guests largely lurk in the shadows, and as a result, the arrangements perfectly reflect the spirit of Hooker’s decades-long career, allowing the focus to remain exactly where it should — on one of the biggest influences in blues and rock history.

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The album code is : ODI171043

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