Label: Catfish Records
Release Date: February 13, 2001
Recording Time: 67 minutes
Releases: February 21, 2005 (Snapper)
Styles: Acoustic Blues, Country Blues, Early American Blues, Pre-War Country Blues, Delta Blues, Regional Blues, Pre-War Blues
Canned Heat was formed by three ardent record collectors with a devout passion for old blues 78s from the 1920s and '30s. Guitarist and harmonica player Alan Wilson, singer Bob Hite, and guitarist Henry Vestine took their scholarly interest in these remarkable old recordings and lovingly re-created them for the emerging rock audience in the late '60s. Less experimental than the Grateful Dead, the band that Canned Heat most resembled in its reconfiguration of old roots tunes, the Heat managed a couple of radio hits with "On the Road Again" and "Going up the Country." The latter tune was featured prominently in the Woodstock movie, perfectly catching the feeling of excitement and change in the air at the time, when it appeared a new era was dawning, an era that was unfortunately very unkind to Canned Heat. Drugs and death haunted the band in an eerie re-enactment of the lives of many of the bluesmen they emulated. The Roots of Canned Heat collects nearly two-dozen of the old 78s that sparked the band, including its namesake song "Canned Heat Blues" by Tommy Johnson, and important recordings from Robert Petway, Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Willie Brown, and Skip James, making this an excellent introduction to country blues. The sound of Texas songster Henry Thomas' quills on "Bulldoze Blues" (included here) was lifted note for note to form the distinctive intro to "Going up the Country," and that song, more than any other, carries the legacy of Canned Heat.
by Steve Leggett
Credits: Barefoot Bill - primary artist; Keith Briggs - liner notes; Willie Brown - composer, performer, primary artist; Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup - composer, performer, primary artist; William Harris - composer, performer, primary artist; John Lee Hooker - composer; Skip James - composer, performer, primary artist; Robert Johnson - composer, performer, primary artist; Tommy Johnson - composer, performer, primary artist; Cripple Clarence Lofton - performer, primary artist; Tommy McClennan - composer, performer, primary artist; Blind Willie McTell - composer, performer, primary artist; Red Nelson - composer; Hambone Willie Newbern - composer, performer, primary artist; James Burke Oden - composer; St. Louis Jimmy Oden - performer, primary artist; Charley Patton - composer, performer, primary artist; Robert Petway - composer, performer, primary artist; Henry "Son" Sims - performer, primary artist; Tampa Red - composer, performer, primary artist; The Two Poor Boys - performer, primary artist; Henry Thomas - composer, performer, primary artist; Traditional - composer; Casey Bill Weldon - composer, performer, primary artist; William White - artwork, design; Hudson Whittaker - composer.
Tracks: 1) Roll And Tumble Blues - Hambone Willie Newbern; 2) Bullfrog Blues - William Harris; 3) Goin' Down Slow - St. Louis Jimmy Oden; 4) Catfish Blues - Robert Petway; 5) Dust My Broom - Robert Johnson; 6) Big Road Blues - Tommy Johnson; 7) Statesboro' Blues - Blind Willie McTell; 8) Turpentine Blues - Casey Bill Weldon; 9) Whiskey Head Man - Tommy McClennan; 10) Pony Blues - Charley Patton; 11) Squabblin' Blues - Barefoot Bill; 12) Devil Got My Woman - Skip James; 13) It Hurts Me Too - Tampa Red; 14) Bulldoze Blues - Henry Thomas; 15) Tell Me Man - Henry "Son" Sims; 16) Two White Horses - Two Poor Boys; 17) Streamline Train - Cripple Clarence Lofton; 18) Canned Heat Blues - Tommy Johnson; 19) Shake It, Break It - Charley Patton; 20) That's All Right Mama - Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup; 21) 34 Blues - Charley Patton; 22) Future Blues - Willie Brown.