On February 24, Craft Recordings has a date with The King of the Boogie. That's the date the label will reissue John Lee Hooker's 1962 electric blues classic Burnin' in an expanded mono/stereo CD edition and in various vinyl pressings just in time for its 60th anniversary.
Singer-guitarist Hooker recorded Burnin' for the Vee-Jay label in Chicago during one November 1961 session. He was supported by the personnel who would later comprise Motown's legendary Funk Brothers house band including Mike Terry on baritone saxophone, Joe Hunter on piano, James Jamerson on bass, and Benny Benjamin on drums. Another future Motown legend, Hank Cosby, played tenor saxophone, while early Funk Brother Larry Veeder supplied additional guitar. The album yielded a top twenty R&B hit for Hooker, "Boom Boom." It was one of only two songs in Hooker's career to reach the Billboard Hot 100; The Animals' subsequent cover would repeat the feat. "Boom Boom" would fare even better decades later, when in 1992, it reached the top 20 of the U.K. Singles Chart thanks to its appearance in a jeans commercial! Between 2007 and 2014, Big Head Todd and The Monsters' cover was heard every week as the theme song to the CBS-TV procedural NCIS: New Orleans.
Burnin' wasn't a one-trick pony, however. In addition to "Boom Boom," the album produced by Vee-Jay's Calvin Carter also included such standouts as the swinging admonition to "Thelma," the spoken-word instructions to a "Drug Store Woman," and the offbeat "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" with its quotation of The Champs' "Tequila." Hooker's sound would go on to inspire countless generations of guitarists and earn him inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Blues Hall of Fame, and Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Craft's upcoming reissues have been freshly remastered from the original analog tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio. The standard 180-gram vinyl LP features the 1962 stereo mix and is housed in a replica tip-on jacket. Limited edition color pressings will be available at Barnes and Noble (Flame Orange), independent record stores (Translucent Red), and JohnLeeHooker.com (Fuego Blend). The CD edition, also available digitally (in standard and high-resolution), has both the original stereo and mono album mixes plus a previously unreleased alternate take of "Thelma" from the same November 1961 session. The CD includes new liner notes by journalist Bill Dahl.
Want a preview of the remastered Burnin'? "Boom Boom" is currently streaming in mono and stereo. The reissues of Burnin' are all due from Craft Recordings on February 24.
John Lee Hooker, Burnin' (Vee-Jay VJLP/VSJR 1043, 1962 - reissued Craft Recordings, 2023)
- Boom Boom (Stereo)
- Process (Stereo)
- Lost A Good Girl (Stereo)
- A New Leaf (Stereo)
- Blues Before Sunrise (Stereo)
- Let's Make It (Stereo)
- I Got A Letter (Stereo)
- Thelma (Stereo)
- Drug Store Woman (Stereo)
- Keep Your Hands To Yourself (Stereo)
- What Do You Say (Stereo)
- Thelma (Alternate Take) (*)
- Boom Boom (Mono)
- Process (Mono)
- Lost A Good Girl (Mono)
- A New Leaf (Mono)
- Blues Before Sunrise (Mono)
- Let's Make It (Mono)
- I Got A Letter (Mono)
- Thelma (Mono)
- Drug Store Woman (Mono)
- Keep Your Hands To Yourself (Mono)
- What Do You Say (Mono)
(*) previously unreleased alternate take