Blues Music

John Lee Hooker’s ‘Burnin’ To Receive Special 60th Anniversary Reissues

Photo: John Lee Hooker courtesy of Fantasy Records Archives

In celebration of the 60th Anniversary of John Lee Hooker’s electrifying blues album Burnin’, Craft Recordings will release several special reissues. Set for release on February 24th and available for pre-order today, the album includes the original recording of Hooker’s highly-influential signature hit, “Boom Boom,” and features members of the legendary Funk Brothers (Motown Records’ celebrated house band).

Newly remastered from the original analog tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, Burnin’ will be available in several formats. A 180-gram vinyl LP features a stereo mix of the album, as it was first released in 1962, while a tip-on jacket, which replicates Vee-Jay Records’ original designs, rounds out the package. In addition to a wide release on classic black vinyl, fans can also find the album in a variety of limited edition color pressings, including Flame Orange vinyl (via Barnes and Noble), Translucent Red vinyl (via Independent Record Stores), and Fuego Blend vinyl along with a brand new official T-shirt featuring the iconic album artwork).

Expanded CD and digital editions offer both mono and stereo mixes of the album, plus a previously-unreleased alternate take of the song “Thelma,” captured during Hooker’s November 1961 session. The CD also includes new liner notes by the GRAMMY®-nominated journalist and music historian, Bill Dahl. Digital configurations include standard and hi-res, 192/24 and 96/24. Fans can preview the new Mono mixes with the advance two-track single “Boom Boom (Mono and Stereo)” which is available to stream or download today.

Listen “Boom Boom (Mono)”

Pre-order, Download/Stream Burnin (Deluxe 60th Anniversary Edition) HERE

Known fondly as “King of the Boogie,” John Lee Hooker (1917-2001) was one of the most important blues artists of all time, whose work had a significant impact on modern music. Born in Mississippi to a family of sharecroppers, Hooker learned how to play the guitar at a young age, picking up his distinctive technique from his stepfather. In his 20s, he relocated to Detroit, where he spent his days as a janitor in an auto factory and his nights pursuing a career as a musician. He scored his first No.1 R&B hit with one of his earliest recordings, 1948’s “Boogie Chillen,” followed by singles like “Hobo Blues,” “Crawlin’ King Snake,” and “I’m in the Mood,” all of which landed in the R&B Top Ten.

But these recordings typically featured a simple set-up: just Hooker alone in the studio, accompanying himself on guitar and keeping the beat with his foot. By the turn of the ‘60s, when Hooker signed to Chicago’s Vee-Jay Records, his sessions began to expand—initially with a second guitarist or a harmonica player (as heard in albums like Travelin’ and The Folklore of John Lee Hooker). Burnin’, however, was a stylistic departure that would not only bring the bluesman a new generation of fans, but would also change the course of his career.

Recorded in just one day in November 1961, Burnin’ paired Hooker with a full, electric band for the first time on record, with six of the most talented musicians of the era—all of whom served as members of Motown Records’ house players. Joining Hooker was keyboardist Joe Hunter, bassist James Jamerson, guitarist Larry Veeder, and drummer Benny Benjamin. A horn section, featuring saxophonist Hank Crosby and baritone saxophonist Andrew “Mike” Terry, added additional textures to the songs. These men, who soon came to be known as the Funk Brothers, would appear on the biggest hits of the decade, backing sessions by the Supremes, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, the Temptations, and Stevie Wonder.

Throughout the latter half of the century, Hooker maintained a steady pace of studio work, collaborations, and live shows. At 72, he released the biggest album of his career, The Healer, which earned him his first GRAMMY® Award, and sold more than a million copies. He found continued success with albums like Boom Boom and Chill Out in his final decade. Among his many honors, Hooker was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was celebrated with a GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. Hooker was also a recipient of the highly prestigious National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

John Lee Hooker, Burnin', album cover

Pre-order Burnin’ (the 60th Anniversary Expanded Edition) HERE

See John Lee Hooker website for official merchandise Here

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