Craft Recordings’ 60th anniversary special reissues for Burnin’, the electrifying blues album from John Lee Hooker, are out today. The albums include the original recording of Hooker’s highly influential signature hit “Boom Boom” and feature members of the legendary Funk Brothers (Motown Records’ celebrated house band).
Newly remastered from the original analog tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, Burnin’ (60th Anniversary Edition) is available in several formats, including a 180-gram vinyl LP (featuring a stereo mix of the album, as it was first released in 1962) housed in a tip-on jacket, which replicates Vee-Jay Records’ original designs. In addition to a wide release on classic black vinyl, fans can also find the album in a variety of limited-edition color pressings, including Flame Orange vinyl (via Barnes and Noble), Translucent Red vinyl (via Independent Record Stores), and Fuego Blend vinyl (via JohnLeeHooker.com, where you can also find a brand-new official T-shirt featuring the iconic album artwork).
Plus, expanded CD and digital editions offer both mono and stereo mixes of the album, and a previously unreleased alternate take of the song “Thelma,” captured during Hooker’s November 1961 session. The CD also includes new liner notes by GRAMMY®-nominated journalist and music historian, Bill Dahl. Digital configurations include standard and hi-res, 192/24 and 96/24. Fans can stream/download the new Mono mixes now HERE.
Coinciding with the album’s release, a new animated lyric video for John Lee Hooker’s iconic signature hit song “Boom Boom,” is available now (watch here). Regarding the video, director Sandra Clua shares, “The idea was to create not just a usual lyric video. In this case, we travel into the Apex Bar in Detroit, where John got the idea for the song. The viewer gets immersed into this dark, neon, dirty, smoky bar full of energy and good music ‒ recreating the atmosphere of a blues bar.”
Known fondly as “King of the Boogie,” John Lee Hooker (1917–2001) was one of the most important blues artists of all time, whose work had a significant impact on modern music. Born in Mississippi to a family of sharecroppers, Hooker learned how to play the guitar at a young age, picking up his distinctive technique from his stepfather. In his 20s, he relocated to Detroit, where he spent his days as a janitor in an auto factory and his nights pursuing a career as a musician. He scored his first No.1 R&B hit with one of his earliest recordings, 1948’s “Boogie Chillen,” followed by singles like “Hobo Blues,” “Crawlin’ King Snake,” and “I’m in the Mood,” all of which landed in the R&B Top Ten. But these recordings typically featured a simple set-up: just Hooker alone in the studio, accompanying himself on guitar and keeping the beat with his foot. By the turn of the ’60s, when Hooker signed to Chicago’s Vee-Jay Records, his sessions began to expand—initially with a second guitarist or a harmonica player (as heard in albums like Travelin’ and The Folklore of John Lee Hooker). Burnin’, however, was a stylistic departure that would not only bring the bluesman a new generation of fans but would also change the course of his career.