Canned Heat: Vintage Heat / PYE Records, 1966 / CD & LP Reissue Available / Produced by Johnny Otis / Bob Hite on Vocals, Harmonica
The original Canned Heat recording featuring Stuart Brotman on bass and Frank Cook on drums, Vintage Heat consisted entirely of blues covers including Robert Johnson’s “Rolling & Tumbling” Elmore James’ “Dust My Broom”, Muddy Waters’ “Got My Mojo Working”, John Lee Hooker’s “Dimples” and Howlin’ Wolf “Evil Is Going On”. Bootlegged, bundled, and repackaged countless times under such names as “Eternal Boogie”, ”Don’t Forget To Boogie”, and “Canned Heat In Concert”. Alan’s crisp harmonica is a fresh breather for blues enthusiasts, and Bob Hite’s grasp of “Shouting The Blues” is a sure-to-please first effort. This is what sets Canned Heat apart from the rest: The group was founded by obsessively dedicated musicologists. Originally surfaced in 1970.
Canned Heat : Canned Heat / Liberty Records, 1967/ Mono & Stereo LP / Bob Hite On Vocals, Harmonica
Canned Heat’s stunning Summer-Of-Love Debut shortly after the Monterey Pop Festival 1967. The cover started controversy, as it features the band “drinking” censored cans of Sterno cooking fuel (If you look closely on the picture provided, the product was “blacked-out”). Bob belts out “Rollin’ And Tumblin” and “Catfish” with original conviction. The record was done entirely of Blues covers and re-arrangements, and was hailed by the period critics and blues purists. This record was meant to introduce people to the Chicago/Delta blues, with original arrangements and takes on traditional tunes. Featuring Frank Cook on drums, the album is currently out of print in the US, but released in Europe as “Rollin and Tumbling”.
Canned Heat : Boogie With Canned Heat / Liberty Records, 1968 Mono/Stereo LP / Produced By Skip Taylor / Bob Hite on Vocals, Harmonica
Soul is an element essential to boogie music, and when you have a 300 pound mountain belting the blues over a band completely in the pocket, you get the boogie. “Boogie With Canned Heat” catapulted Canned Heat to national prominence, Alan shining on the hit single “On The Road Again” while Bob’s account “My Crime” detailing the group’s set-up by the Denver police in 1967. This Record also marks the entrance of drummer Fito De La Parra, who was left out of the cover art but properly credited on the back of the album. Blues piano legend Sunnyland Slim even sits in on “Turpentine Moan” for a truly authentic barrelhouse feel. Odds are, you’ve been hammered on a couch somewhere and heard this entire album, and you have worn out 2 LP copies.
Canned Heat : Living The Blues / Liberty Records, 1968 Mono & Stereo LP/ Produced By Skip Taylor Vinyl/CD Reissue Akarma Records, 2003 / Bob Hite on Vocals, Harmonica
The mammoth Double-LP featuring the first release of “Going Up The Country”, The experimental “Parthenogenesis”, and the 42-minute “Refried Boogie”. Arguably this record was the most influential release of Canned Heat’s career on the pop charts. Bob switches between about a dozen different vocal Blues style during the course of this double-record. It is experimental and volatile in nature; taking Charley Patton and Floyd Jones tunes and transmogrifying them with LSD; updating the sound for a hipper, younger audience. “Sandy’s Blues” is probably the most relevant and concisely recorded shuffle of The Summer Of Love generation, and “One Kind Favor” will show you who helped pioneer the headbang. (Thank you for your buzzing, Mr. Vestine) A 10-point masterpiece from front to back.
Canned Heat : Live At The Kaleidoscope, 1969 / Varese Sarabande # 302 066 178 2 Originally Released as Live at Topanga Corral , Wand Records, 1971/ Mono & Stereo LP/ Produced By Skip Taylor / Bob Hite on Vocals, Harmonica
One of the clearest golden-age live recordings of Bob’s singing is featured on this record. You can hear the studio chatter in the backround, and “I’d Rather Be The Devil” features his barrelhousing spirit and appreciation of Skip James, standing right next to the mic, and screaming to the audience. Skip Taylor’s foresight in bringing the most state of the art equipment to the now-defunct SoCal club can be thanked in part for this one. “Wish You Would” is brought to life courtesy of Larry “Mole” Taylor, and Bob “The Bear” Hite belts “Sweet Sixteen” with the full force of his 300lb soul. The record has been bootlegged countless times, but is currently in print on Varese Sarabande.
Canned Heat : Cookbook: Their Greatest Hits / Fuel 2000 Records Reissue / Produced By Skip Taylor / Bob Hite on Vocals, Harmonica
Canned Heat’s Greatest Hit’s album was originally released by Liberty Records in 1969 to compile the hits from their first four albums. It was effectively a cash-in attempt by Liberty with the intention of keeping the band in the charts, and quickly became The Cookbook has been released in CD format on Fuel 2000 Records in the USA in 2003, and features the bonus track “Let’s Work Together.” The CD is available from Canned Heat’s website, and contains the best from the Golden Age Lineup. Including “Going Up The Country”, “On The Road Again” , “Boogie Music” , “Time Was” and “Let’s Work Together”
Canned Heat : Hallelujah / Liberty Records, 1969/ Mono & Stereo LP / Produced By Skip Taylor / Bob Hite on Vocals, Harmonica
The last album to feature the “Golden Age” lineup, Hallelujah ranks in originality with the 50’s Chess Blues Recordings, and was never truly understood for its genius. Hite starts the group off by shouting “Same All Over”, and ends with “Down In The Gutter But Free”. Also a stand out is “Do Not Enter”; a 5/4 blues tune that challenged conventional rhythmic standards, Canned Heat took the genre into a completely new direction. With the innovation of breaking the tried-and true structure of the 4/4, the group transcended the threshold that they themselves created. Guitarist Henry Vestine authors the poem in the fold-out cover. This record is a must-have for any fan of the blues.
Canned Heat : Future Blues / Liberty Records, 1970 / Stereo LP, CD Re-Issue / Produced By Skip Taylor / Bob Hite on Vocals, Harmonica
This album cover was definitely a first in the record buisness for its political statement. As Bob’s first official release of “Let’s Work Togerther”, the album was also Alan Wilson’s last studio recording with Canned Heat, featuring Harvey “The Snake” Mandel on lead guitar, and returning studio player Dr. John on keys. Regarded as an Avant-Garde masterpiece in Europe, the album clocks in at just 36 minutes. The haunting “My Time Ain’t Long” casts an eerie foreshadowing on the events to come; Alan would be gone a few months after its release. The center album photo and poem Grim Harvest voiced the band’s deep concern for the deforestation of the California Redwoods.
Canned Heat : Live ‘70 Concert in Europe / Liberty Records, 1970 / Stereo LP / Produced By Skip Taylor / Bob Hite on Harmonica, Vocals
The live concert from the European Tour right before Alan Wilson’s death. Bob Hite grabs the audience with his charismatic personality, and by the end of the first verse in “Bring It On Home” the band has captivated the crowd in a head--bobbing boogie. Live ‘70 Concert features a heart-stopping rendition of “Pulling Hair Blues”; yet another attribution to how Alan’s unconventional style challenged the fabric of music by incorporating prosaic verse, letting his voice crack, and flowing between his harmonica. Miles above the other performers of his time period, this record says again that Alan wanted to tear down walls of the conventional 12-bar format. The CD is currently out of print in the United States, but available in Europe, and through the band’s website.
John Lee Hooker & Canned Heat: Hooker & Heat / Liberty Records, 1971 / 2 LP Set OOP / MOFI 2 CD Set #UDCD 2-676 OOP/ Produced By Bob Hite
Hite stepped back on vocal duties to produce, and Wilson records with John Lee Hooker on what will be his last session. During the photo shoot for the cover, Alan was already gone. Guitarist Henry Vestine grabbed the picture on his left before the photographer captured the already somber mood. Wilson shines forth in what is arguably his best recording, following the unconventional Hooker like none other on the harmonica. “I dig this kid’s hamonica, you know? I don’t know how he follow me, but he do.” (to Alan) “You must’ve listened to my records all your life, since you was a little kid. I cant lose you.” In his last Rolling Stone interview when asked who played his music the best, Hooker said “The Canned Heat” without missing a beat. “We did the boogie and we rode it like a pony, we really did.”
Canned Heat: Historical Figures And Ancient Heads / United Artists, 1971 / LP OOP / BGO CD Re-issue (Europe) / Produced By Skip Taylor
Historical Figures would begin Canned Heat’s healing process. Recruiting Vocalst Joel Scott Hill they pressed on, looking to the Blues to heal their pain. The erroniously titled “Rockin’ WIth The King” was a rework of a Little Richard Tune, featuring the still-rolling piano player on back up vocals, piano, and screams. Always controversial, the center spread in the fold out album featured a wide assortment of drug paraphernalia and the band’s heads encased in glass domes. Vestine’s guitar tears through “Utah” like a meat grinder, and Hite yells from the bottom of his heart. The record also includes Tony de la Barreda on Bass. who left with Hill after this album and tour, coping and struggling to live up to the expectations of Wilson’s genius. “Hill’s Stomp” which showcases his apt rhythm guitarwork as part of the Canned Heat legacy.
Canned Heat: One More River To Cross: / Atlantic Records, 1972 (1973) / LP OOP, / BGO CD Reissue (Europe) / Bob Hite on Vocals, Harmonica
Negotiated out of their contract with Liberty records, Canned Heat was ready for a fresh start with what Fito refers to as “The Horn Band”. Ronnie Barron and Jimmy Shane make their Canned Heat debut. “One More River To Cross” and “Bagful Of Boogie” best represent the bands new direction with Shane’s tenor vocals and Dobro guitar. The Bear leads the group on own the line, and “Highwat 401” shows that they still are staying true to the roots of the boogie. The new direction lacked commercial appeal in the USA, but the European fans flocked to the shows “Like the wild geese winging West” as the blues lyric goes. Ending with a tribute to his idol Fats Domino, Bob performs a mix of his radio hits and asks the listeners to take a look back into Domino’s music.
Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Canned Heat, and The Memphis Horns: Gate’s On The Heat: / Barclay Records (France) 1973 LP OOP, / BGO CD Reissue (Europe) / Bob Hite on Vocals, Harmonica
Canned Heat was originally going to cut an entire album with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, but ended up playing only on “Gate’s On The Heat” and “Dollar’s Got The Blues”. Henry Vestine (who was going through a bout of southern prejudice at the time) got into a fist-fight with “Gatemouth” who is a Sheriff in TX, and a group of session musicians were called in to finished the record. Bob plays some harp, but lets “Gatemouth” lead the band in form similar to “Hooker & Heat”. I would recommend this album to any fan of Americana or Texas Swing, as the amalgamation of Gate’s violin with Canned Heat’s boogie-blues creates a smoothly satisfying yet uniquely driving groove.
Memphis Slim, Canned Heat, and The Memphis Horns Memphis Heat: / Barclay Records (France) 1973 LP OOP, / BGO CD Reissue (Europe) / Bob Hite on Harmonica
Paris, France was the adopted home of legendary blues pianist Memphis Slim, who cut the incredible session “Memphis Heat” with Canned Heat for Barclay Records. Hite once steps back to let Slim take the barrelhouse boogie to a hip, modern ground. “Back To Mother Earth” is a reinvigorated 78 RPM classic, and “Black Cat Cross My Trail” reflects the unparalleled studious efforts on the part of Canned Heat. This record is essential listening for fans of piano music, and is effectively a lost classic due to incredibly low print runs in vinyl form, and limited import into the USA. A new version from France is known to exist with two extra tracks and photos from the session. The Memphis Horns were added later from their hometown via overdubbing.
Canned Heat: The New Age: / United Artists Records, 1973 / LP OOP, / BGO CD Reissue (Europe) / Bob Hite on Vocals, Harmonica
This record was actually Clara Ward’s last recording. After guesting with James Shane on “Looking For My Rainbow”, Mrs. Ward passed away and the album was dedicated to her memory. “Election Blues” is a clever critique of the second-term Nixon administration, and “Harley Davidson Blues” would push their biker following to a new level. Though financial times were tough, and Lester Bangs famously thrashed this record in a 1973 issue of Rolling Stone, which got him fired, but also turned the group off to many young people who followed his every word. Canned Heat’s descent down the pop charts seemed imminent, but the spirit of the boogie would continue far into the future.
Canned Heat:The Ties That Bind / Archive Records, CD 1974 OOP / Bob Hite on Vocals, Harmonica / Produced By Fito de la Parra
The previously unreleased Atlantic Records session from 1974. Negotiated out of their UA contract, they went to Atlantic where notable blues enthusiasts the Ertegun Brothers were persuaded to give the band another chance. The tapes were released back to the band after the label lost interest due to the impending disco craze, and the infamous Lester Bang’s eloquent thrashing of “The New Age.” LP. Fito put the album out for the first time in 1997 on CD. An excellent boogie-blues record in a time that didn’t understand the music, the two unreleased Alan Wilson Tracks (Get Off My Back, Somethings Gotta Go) also appear on The Boogie House Tapes Vol. 2. and are a studio and live track that were some of his last recordings. No word on a re-issue as of yet, but you can purchase the record from the band directly.
Canned Heat: Human Condition / Takoma Records, LP 1978 OOP / /Bob Hite on Vocals, Harmonica
Originally released on Takoma Records, The session was named after an Alan Wilson tune, and features the Chambers Brothers on back-up vocals. "Hot Money" features the mellow guitar overtones of Mark Skyer, while drummer Fito de la Parra drives the boogie like an 18-speed Peterbuilt. This was one of Bob "The Bear" Hite's last studio records. Hite's influence on the band (though never his mountainous spirit) was starting to wane due to deteriorating health. This recording has resurfaced with a forgotten nova of boogie-blues power that was overshadowed by the last days of disco. In the dark days before the massive blues revival of the 1980's, the Kings of the Boogie carried their art like a crutch, but never gave up on their single-minded principle of bringing the Blues to folks of all ages and walks of life.
John Lee Hooker, Canned Heat & The Chambers Brothers Hooker & Heat II : / Rhino Records 1981, CD 2004 / Bob Hite on Vocals, Harmonica
Hot on the trail for “Human Condition”, Canned Heat teamed up with John Lee Hooker and the Chambers Brothers for an amazing night at the Fox Venice Theater. Bob acts as Master of Ceremonies with “Hell Hound On My Trail”, and the Chambers Brothers “Wrapped Up” is worth it alone for the acapella performance.
Canned Heat: Live at King Biscut: Woodstock’s 10th Anniversary / King Biscut Records 1979, CD 2004 / Bob Hite on Vocals, Harmonica
In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Woodstock, Canned Heat played to a crowd of 10,000 on Long Island. The “Burger Brothers” lineup was ignited by the return of Larry “The Mole” Taylor to the fold, and the addition of the blazing Hollywood Fats on guitar, who played rhythm and leads almost simultaneously. This is the only recording of Fats with Canned Heat, who feeds off of Hite’s enthusiasm and stage presence perfectly. Jay Spell of Moby Grape takes care of the back-up vox and piano on “Going Up The Country” and “On The Road Again”. The original golden-age flame of creativity is apparent again and fortified by Fito de la Parra gripping the beats on his drum kit. The eleven-minute version of Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson’s “Human Condition” is a quintessential part of this jaw-dropping set, finished by the “Shake’n Boogie,” This CD is essential Canned Heat, available through their Merchandise Page.
Canned Heat: Uncanned! / EMI Records 1994/ 2CD Set OOP / Bob Hite on Harmonica, Vocals
Shining forth are the alternate release of “On The Road Again” which is incredibly different and stripped down, though as painstakingly brilliant as the original. “Mean Old World” “Fannie May” “Nine Below Zero” and “TV Mama” highlight the previously unreleased tracks on the first disc. Alan’s harp playing is simply unparalleled as far as technique, vibratto and control on these songs. “Human Condition,” and an incredibly lonely version of “Terraplane Blues” highlights the second disc, and show off his deep understanding of the bottleneck. Terraplane Blues is after all a Robert Johnson tune. For the Audiophiles, the booklet also includes the dates the tracks were recorded. The record is out of print, but can be obtained through the band.
Canned Heat:The Boogie House Tapes Vol.1 / Fuel 2000 / Ruf Records 2 CD Set / Produced By Fito de la Parra & Walter “Dr. Boogie” Paduwa
A series of live and unreleased recordings spanning the early years of Canned Heat. From the vaults of Fito de la Parra and Dr. Boogie, there are live versions and alternate takes that really shows how deeply the group understands the different types and nuances of blues and roots music. The live versions of “Pulling Hair Blues” and “London Blues” really show off Alan’s wailing harmonica, his voice cracking and flowing up and down through the registers over the slapping of Larry Taylor’s bass. “Human Condition” is another highlight, and features Alan singing the track live in Europe in 1970. Bob “The Bear” Hite notoriously sets the tone for the evening from the beginning, and brings you right into the concert.
Canned Heat:The Boogie House Tapes Vol.2 / Fuel 2000 / Ruf Records 2 CD Set / Produced By Fito de la Parra & Walter “Dr. Boogie” Paduwa
Featuring the last four bottleneck slide recordings from Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson's hospital bed following a suicide attempt in 1970, Disc One of the Boogie House Vol. 2 gives listeners a final insight into the tortured genius who re-taught delta blues grandfather Son House how to play guitar like Son House. Wilson's ghostly high vocal intonations and perfect vibrato on "Sloppy Drunk" and "Death Bed Blues" are literally frightening to listen to, while "Blind Melon" illustrates his complete mastery of open tunings. The record also features the last roadhouse recording of the mountainous blues shouter and bandleader Bob "The Bear" Hite bellowing "Hell's On Down The Line" in 1981, days before he collapsed on stage and died of a drug-related heart attack.