Canned Heat – Living the Blues
Why do I continue to take Canned Heat’s music for granted? Every time I listen to them I’m blown away at their combination of simplicity and virtuosity. As with other well-known artists of the day, Canned Heat paid homage to the greats with their style of blues ‘n boogie. But theirs was a uniquely American sound. And as the world found out the following summer, they were just as at-home in front of massive audiences as they were in bars.
The classic lineup’s double LP Living the Blues, their second album of 1968 and third overall, was released on this date with guest appearances by John Mayall (piano on Walking by Myself) and Dr. John (Boogie Music). And with it, they continued to make their mark on the late-60’s music scene while bringing a classic American genre to the fore.
They also showed on this release that they could stretch it out and jam with the best of them. While Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson’s Going Up the Country, along with his On the Road Again from Boogie with Canned Heat earlier in the year, are their trademark tunes with a permanent place on the Counter Culture’s Greatest Hits, Canned Heat were so much more. The 20-minute Parthenogenesis which takes up nearly all of side two, and the 41-minute Refried Boogie, which consumes the entire second disc of the album, showed they could bring serious crunch to the blues. Other great tracks here are Charley Patton’s Pony Blues and Blind Lemon Jefferson’s One Kind Favor, both powerfully delivered by Bob Hite.
AllMusic’s Lindsay Planer writes, “Living the Blues stands as a testament to Canned Heat’s prowess as modernizers of the blues and recommended as one of the most cohesive works from this incarnation.” It’s pure, unpretentious, joyful music.
- Pony Blues
- My Mistake
- Sandy’s Blues
- Going Up the Country
- Walking by Myself
- Boogie Music
- One Kind Favor
- Parthenogenesis: I. Nebulosity II. Rollin’ and Tumblin’ III. Five Owls IV. Bear -Wires V. Snooky Flowers VI. Sunflower Power (RMS is Truth) VII. Raga Kafi VII. Icebag IX. Childhood’s End
- Refried Boogie (Pt. 1)
- Refried Boogie (Pt. 2)