Canned Heat's second long-player, Boogie with Canned Heat (1968), pretty well sums up the bona fide blend of amplified late-'60s electric rhythm and blues, with an expressed emphasis on loose and limber boogie-woogie. The quintet – consisting of Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson (guitar/harmonica/vocals), Larry "The Mole" Taylor (bass), Henry "Sunflower" Vestine (guitar), Aldolfo "Fido" Dela Parra (drums), and Bob "The Bear" Hite (vocals) – follow up their debut effort with another batch of authentic interpretations, augmented by their own exceptional instrumentation. One development is their incorporation of strong original compositions. "On the Road Again" – which became the combo's first, and arguably, most significant hit – as well as the Albert King inspired anti-speed anthem, "Amphetamine Annie," were not only programmed on the then-burgeoning underground FM radio waves, but also on the more adventuresome AM Top 40 stations. Their love of authentic R&B informs "World in a Jug," the dark "Turpentine Blues," and Hite's update of Tommy McClennan's "Whiskey Headed Woman".
The Scandinavian countries, with well-funded symphony orchestras, have been producing a new generation of composers who write for them. The best of these, a group that undoubtedly includes Anders Hillborg, have begun to attract attention and commissions from outside the region. Three of this group of four works from between 2010 and 2014 (Hillborg has been at it for decades) had commissioners from outside Sweden, and the mighty centerpiece, Sirens, was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic (whose former music director, Esa-Pekka Salonen, conducts it) and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Anyone who remembers Eric Marienthal's work with Chick Corea's Elektric Band in the late '80s and early '90s knows how exciting an improviser he can be. This disc has its moments. Botti has an enjoyable spot on Stanley Turrentine's "Sugar," and "Love Don't Live Here" (one of the few tracks that isn't an instrumental) is a pleasant, if unremarkable, urban/adult contemporary item that features singer Deniece Williams. Also noteworthy is Lorber's funky "Hangin' on the Sidewalk," which finds Ford taking a gritty guitar solo.
These are the earliest-known recordings of Canned Heat with the primordial lineup of Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson (guitar/harmonica/vocals), Stuart Brotman (bass), Henry "Sunflower" Vestine (guitar), Bob "The Bear" Hite (vocals), and either Keith Sawyer (drums), or perhaps his replacement, Frank Cook (drums), who joined circa 1966. Another notable name among the personnel listed on the original LP jacket is rhythm & blues legend, Johnny Otis as producer. This is certainly fitting, as the Heat wind their way through compact, high-energy versions of a variety of selections…