Sunday, December 14, 2014

Canned Heat - '70 Concert: Live In Europe (1970)

(U.S 1965 - Present)
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Emerging in 1966, Canned Heat was founded by blues historians and record collectors Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson and Bob "The Bear" Hite. They gained international attention and secured their niche in the pages of rock 'n roll history with their performances at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival (along with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and The Who) and the headlining slot at the original Woodstock Festival. Wilson was already renowned for his distinctive harmonica work when he accompanied veteran bluesman, Son House, on his rediscovery album, "Father of the Blues." Hite took the name Canned Heat from a 1928 recording by Tommy Johnson. They were joined by Henry "The Sunflower" Vestine, another ardent record collector capable of fretboard fireworks at a moment's notice who was a former member of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. Rounding out the band in 1967 were Larry "The Mole" Taylor on bass, an experienced session musician who had played with Jerry Lee Lewis and The Monkees and Adolfo "Fito" de la Parra on drums who had played in two of the biggest Latin American bands, Los Sinners and Los Hooligans and then with The Platters, The Shirelles, T-Bone Walker and Etta James.
Canned Heat's unique blend of modern electric blues, rock and boogie has earned them a loyal following and influenced many aspiring guitarists and bands during the past 35 years. Their Top-40 country-blues-rock songs, "On The Road Again," "Let's Work Together," and "Going Up The Country," became rock anthems throughout the world with the later being adopted as the unofficial theme song for the film Woodstock.
Right from the start, Canned Heat has been at the forefront of popularizing blues music. Their second album, "Boogie With Canned Heat," included the worldwide hit "On The Road Again" and a twelve minute version of "Fried Hockey Boogie" that established them with hippie ballroom audiences as the "kings of the boogie!" Their third album, "Living The Blues," included a 19-minute tour de force, "Parthenogenesis" which displayed the quintet at their most experimental along with their incarnation of Henry Thomas' "Bulldozer Blues" where singer, Wilson, retained the tune of the original song, rewrote the lyric and came up with "Goin' Up The Country," whose simple message caught the "back-to-nature" attitude of the late '60s and went to #1 in 25 countries around the world.
The band can boast of collaborations with John Mayall and Little Richard and later with blues icon, John Lee Hooker, the musician that they initially got much of their musical inspiration from in the first place. This union first produced the spirited and revered album, "Hooker 'n Heat" and then Hooker's 1990 Grammy Award-winning classic, "The Healer." The band is also credited with bringing a number of other forgotten bluesmen to the forefront of modern blues including Sunnyland Slim, who they found driving a taxi in Chicago, Skip James, who they found in a hospital in Tunica, Mississippi and took to the Newport Festival, Memphis Slim and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown with whom they recorded in France and Albert Collins. They brought Collins to California where they had their manager negotiate a recording agreement for Albert that started him on his way to becoming a well known musician throughout the world.
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On September 3rd, 1970, the band was shattered by the suicide of Alan Wilson. His death sparked reconstruction within the group and member changes continued throughout the next two decades. On April 5th, 1981, at the Palamino in Los Angeles, gargantuan vocalist, Bob Hite, collapsed and died of a heart attack and on October 20th, 1997, Henry Vestine died in Paris, France following the final gig of a European tour.
Despite these untimely deaths and assorted musical trends, Canned Heat has survived under the leadership of Fito de la Parra since the late 70's. Since 1967, the band has toured extensively all over the world, performing at numerous festivals including Monterey Pop, Newport Pop, the Sturgis Motorcycle Run U.S.A., and the original Woodstock. They have performed at world-renowned venues such as Paris' Olympia, both Fillmore Auditoriums, The Kaleidoscope, Carnegie Hall (with John Lee Hooker), Madison Square Garden and even Royal Albert Hall and have played more biker festivals than any other band in the world.
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They and/or their music have been featured on television (In Concert, David Frost, Merv Griffin, Midnight Special, Playboy After Dark, etc.), and in films ("Woodstock," "Flashback," and "Forrest Gump" etc.). Their legend has recently been heard and felt in various television commercials ("On The Road Again" for Miller Beer, "Goin' Up The Country" for Pepsi, Chevrolet and McDonalds, "Let's Work Together" for Lloyd's Bank, England's Electric Company and for Target Stores along with other songs for 7-Up, Levi's and Heineken Beer).
Now, more than thirty six years later, Canned Heat is still going strong. Anchored throughout by the steady hand of drummer/band leader Adolfo "Fito" de la Parra (a member since 1967), Canned Heat is well on track to carry the boogie-blues it made famous, well into the 21st century. With one of their strongest lineups ever, now together since the end of 1999, Fito on drums, Greg Kage on bass and vocals, Dallas Hodge on guitar and vocals, John Paulus on guitar and vocals and Stanley Behrens on harmonica, flute, saxophone and vocals.
Fito's book, "Living The Blues" is available through the band's website and at most popular book outlets. It is the complete and outrageous Canned Heat story of "Music, Drugs, Death, Sex and Survival" along with over 100 captivating pictures from their past.
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Concert Review
Canned Heat '70 Concert is taken from various locations on live concert European tour right before Alan Wilson’s death and is the band's first officially released live album. Canned Heat had toured Europe in 1970 in support of their album Future Blues, which had featured the hit single "Let's Work Together" (a #2 hit in the UK). Recordings from the tour were put out as a live album, orginally called Canned Heat '70 Concert - Recorded Live In Europe (as per this post), but later reissued with the simpler title Live In Europe. It was a great blues album, showcasing the whole band, in particular the excellent lead guitar of newcomer Harvey Mandel. The album did well in the UK, where it reached #15.
However on their return to America, both Mandel and bassist Larry Taylor left the band to work with John Mayall (who had just then relocated to California). Original lead guitiarist Henry Vestine then returned, bringing with him bassist Antonio de la Barreda.
This album captures the 1970 incarnation of Canned Heat with Bob "The Bear" Hite (vocals), Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson (guitar/vocals/harmonica), Larry "The Mole" Taylor (bass), Aldolfo "Fito" de la Parra (drums), and newest addition Harvey Mandel (guitar), who had replaced Henry "Sunflower" Vestine (guitar) in 1969.
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They headed across the Atlantic in the spring of 1970 on the heels of "Let's Work Together" -- a Wilbert Harrison cover that charted within the Top Five in Europe. These are also among the final recordings to feature Wilson, whose increasing substance abuse and depression would result in an overdose prior to having re-joined the band for another stint in Europe in the fall of the same year. Indeed the brooding "Pulling Hair Blues" from this effort is marked not only by some decidedly dark and strung-out contributions, but more subtly, Hite's tentative introduction of Wilson -- indicating he had not been playing for the duration of the set. The Heat's performance style has shifted from the aggressive rhythm and blues of their earliest sides to a looser and more improvisational technique. The opener, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's "That's All Right Mama," is given a greasy mid-tempo groove over Hite's vocals . Mandel shines as his guitar leads dart in and out of the languid boogie. Although presented as a medley, "Back on the Road" is more or less an inclusive number with only brief lyrical references to "On the Road Again." Mandel's sinuous fretwork melds flawlessly with Wilson's harmonica blows. The powerful rendering of the aforementioned "Let's Work Together" is a highlight, with Canned Heat in top form as Wilson's electric slide riffs recall their seminal sound.
[Review by Lindsay Planer at AllMusic.com]
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This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from my vinyl copy (the album has seen better days so click removal was applied to the audiophiles) and includes full album artwork for both CD and vinyl releases.
What makes this post great is the fact that the rough sound reproduction on this 45 year old vinyl gives the listener a realistic concert experience which is lacking on any CD release.
So sit right back, crank up the bass, and as The Bear would say: "Don't Forget To Boogie!"
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Tracklisting
01     That's All Right Mama    
02     Bring It On Home    
03     Pulling Hair Blues    

04     Medley: Back On The Road/On The Road Again    
05     London Blues    
06     Let's Work Together    
07     Goodbye For Now

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Band Members:
Bass – Larry "The Mole" Taylor
Drums – Adolfo "Fito" De La Parra
Guitar – Harvey Mandel
Guitar, Vocals, Harp – Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson
Vocals – Bob "The Bear" Hite
Producer – Skip Taylor

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Canned Heat Link (127Mb) New Link 17/10/2015
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