Boogie Man: Adventures of John Lee Hooker in the American 20th Century

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9780140168907: Boogie Man: Adventures of John Lee Hooker in the American 20th Century

Acclaimed writer Charles Shaar Murray's Boogie Man is the authorized and authoritative biography of an extraordinary musician. Murray was given unparalleled access to Hooker, and he lets the man from Clarksdale, Mississippi, tell his own story. "Everything you read on album covers is not true, and every album reads different," he told Murray. Murray helps Hooker set the record straight, disentangling the myths and legends from truths so rock-ribbed that we understand, as if for the first time, why they have provided the source for a lifetime of unforgettable sound.

Murray weaves together Hooker's life and music to reveal their indissoluble bonds. Yet Boogie Man is far more than merely an accomplished and brilliant biography of one man; it gives an account of an entire art form. Grounded in a time and place in American culture, the blues are universal, and in the hands of the greatest practitioners its power resides in the miracle of using despair to transcend it. "The preacher's mantle," Murray tells us, "passes to the bluesman." This bluesman traveled a hard road out of the American South, from obscurity to adulation and back-and back again. John Lee Hooker has seen it all and sung it all, and his music is both a living legacy and an American treasure. Here is the book that does him and his music full justice.

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About the Author:

Charles Shaar Murray won the Ralph J. Gleason Award for Crosstown Traffic, his critically acclaimed study of Jimi Hendrix. Q Magazine dubbed him the "rock writers' rock writer" and "the consummate rock critic." He lives in England.

From Booklist:

John Lee Hooker became an overnight sensation in the '80s after more than 40 years at his craft. The springboard for his "discovery" was the Grammy-winning album The Healer, which featured Bonnie Raitt and Carlos Santana among other younger musicians. This gambit, too, was not new, for Hooker had recorded Hooker 'n' Heat with Canned Heat in the late '60s--a truly seminal album. Hooker is one of the last surviving bluesmen with a direct lineage from the Delta blues tradition and for years was king of Detroit's blues scene. Murray's extensive bio goes all the way back to the beginning in a sprawling literary effort worthy of Hooker's lengthy career. Like many American blues artists, Hooker was revered by the early '60s English rockers, yet unlike Muddy Waters, widespread pop music interest in Hooker was slow to build. Nevertheless, Hooker's music is a national treasure; anybody who has ever boogied to George Thorogood's recording of Hooker's "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" or rocked out to ZZ Top's early recordings has heard the man's influence. Now they can read his life story in depth and celebrate Hooker and his music in a way that many of his contemporaries never lived to enjoy. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Charles Shaar Murray
Published by Penguin Books Ltd (2000)
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Murray, Charles Shaar
Published by Penguin Books Ltd (2000)
ISBN 10: 0140168907 ISBN 13: 9780140168907
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