John Lee Hooker Jr.

Cold As Ice
(Telarc)

As a teenager, John Lee Hooker Jr. was a featured player in John Lee Sr.'s road show, and then spent the next 20 years fighting the demons of drugs, drink, divorce, and jail. Given his troubled past, you might expect Junior's music to be even more dark and dangerous than his father's primal squall, but one of the hallmarks of Junior's music is its wry humor. "Four Hours Straight/Blues Man" slows down his father's one-chord boogie to a slithering, sexually charged vamp that's much more explicit, and humorous, than anything pops ever attempted. "I Got to Be Me" is a smooth, jazzy ballad accented by guitarist John Garcia Jr.'s Wes Montgomery-style comped chords and Will Griffin's sparkling keyboard work. "You Blew It Baby" is a snide putdown of an old girlfriend done Memphis style, while "Eva'body Pays Attention" gives Junior's lascivious drawl a New Orleans wiggle.

 
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