Canned Heat rose to fame because their knowledge and love of blues music was both wide and deep. Emerging in 1966, Canned Heat was founded by blues historians and record collectors Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and Bob “The Bear” Hite. Hite took the name “Canned Heat” from a 1928 recording by Tommy Johnson. They were joined by Henry “The Sunflower” Vestine, another ardent record collector who was a former member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention. Rounding out the band in 1967 were Larry “The Mole” Taylor on bass, an experienced session musician who had played with Jerry Lee Lewis and The Monkees and Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra on drums who had played in two of the biggest Latin American bands, Los Sinners and Los Hooligans.
Liner notes from LP. It begins simply. The rhythm mounts, gradually becoming more complex. Enter the darting, graceful flute. Moments later, the piano and guitar make the pickup simultaneously. Now the pace is torrid. The performance frantic. It's JAZZ HEAT–BONGO BEAT! This is an exciting cohesion of authentic Latin music and American jazz… an unusual and profitable partnership into new and modern sounds. The rhythm section: Larry Bunker is the drummer; Tony Reyes, the bassist; on bongos, Carlos Mejia; and the conga drummer, Darias.