PopMatters home | short takes home | archivesPopMatters Music Short Takes
Canned Heat, Friends in the Can (Fuel 2000)
Coming out of the mid-'60s, Canned Heat was established by blues historians Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson and Bob Hite and soon hailed as the Kings of the Boogie in those hippie ballrooms of yesteryear. Canned Heat has been pumping out their hot mix of boogie and blues for a very long time, persevering through all the misfortunes that being alive in the world can bring. Founding member Blind Owl went down for the count as the band was gaining ascendancy. A major trembler destroyed leader Hite's entire rare blues record collection, and then Hite himself died of a heart attack. What's a band to do but keep on keeping on. That's why "Bad Trouble" seems especially apropos here, with slidemaster Roy Rogers pouring a ladle of grease on the fire while Dallas Hodge growls and stutters out his lyrics. Their famous hippie anthem "Let's Work Together" is visited twice, one version features Harvey Mandel on guitar. The rest of this disc doesn't really congeal, even with people like John Lee Hooker sitting in.