Documenting The Sensation Recordings 1948-1952 John Lee Hooker


Ace Records
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Documenting The Sensation Recordings 1948-1952 (MP3), MP3 (£23.97)

John Lee Hooker's 1948-1952 recordings made in Detroit, Michigan by Bernard Besman. Includes 19 previously unissued versions.

Ace acquired a lot of John Lee Hooker sides when we purchased the Sensation label from Bernard Besman. Bernie had also sold some sides to United Artists and to Greene Bottle before then. However, no-one has carried out a forensic investigation into exactly what we had bought, until now.

These three CDs contain all of the Ace-owned Besman John Lee Hooker sides gathered in one place for the first time. Also included is the Little Eddie Kirkland RPM single with John Lee Hooker on second guitar and vocal. There has been meticulous tape research for best sources, so the mastering far exceeds anything presented before, as anyone who has the ‘Boogie Chillen’’/‘Boogie Chillen’ #2’ 10-inch 78 we recently issued can attest. 19 different, previously unreleased versions of songs appeared in the research for the project, including extended takes and alternative versions.

The collection comes as a 3CD digipak box set. The accompanying booklet features an introductory note from Peter Guralnick, a comprehensive overview of the music from Dr Wayne Goins, Director of Jazz Studies at Kansas State University, and a sessionography covering all the tracks on the CDs.

These early Hooker recordings are akin to jazz as much as the blues, with an improvisatory feel, harking back to the pre-war era, but with a very distinct approach and a unique sound presaging the blues that was to come.


Track listing


Side 1

  • 01 Preview Sally Mae (alt take)

  • 02 Preview War Is Over (Goodbye California] (extended take)

  • 03 Preview War Is Over (Goodbye California) (alt take)

  • 04 Preview War Is Over (Goodbye California) (extended take)

  • 05 Preview Boogie Chillen'

  • 06 Preview Henry's Swing Club

  • 07 Preview Drifting From Door To Door

  • 08 Preview Hobo Blues (alt take)

  • 09 Preview Numbers Blues (aka She Ain't Good For Nothin' - alt take)

  • 10 Preview Alberta

  • 11 Preview Alberta (alt take)

  • 12 Preview Howlin' Wolf (aka I'm A Howling Wolf)

  • 13 Preview Crawlin' King Snake

  • 14 Preview Hoogie Boogie (instrumental)

  • 15 Preview Hastings Street Boogie (extended take)

  • 16 Preview Build Myself A Cave (aka The World Is In A Tangle - take 1)

  • 17 Preview Build Myself A Cave (aka The World Is In A Tangle - take 2)

  • 18 Preview Build Myself A Cave (aka The World Is In A Tangle - take 3)

  • 19 Preview Build Myself A Cave (aka The World Is In A Tangle - intercut of takes 2 & 3)

  • 20 Preview Graveyard Blues

  • 21 Preview Momma Poppa Boogie

  • 22 Preview Burnin' Hell

  • 23 Preview Sailing Blues (aka Drifting Blues)

  • 24 Preview Black Cat Blues

Side 2

  • 01 Preview Weeping Willow Boogie (aka Weeping Willow)

  • 02 Preview Miss Sadie Mae

  • 03 Preview Sail On Little Girl

  • 04 Preview Alberta Part 2

  • 05 Preview Wednesday Evening (aka She Left Me On Bended Knee)

  • 06 Preview Canal Street Blues

  • 07 Preview Huckle Up Baby

  • 08 Preview Let Your Daddy Ride

  • 09 Preview Goin' On Highway #51

  • 10 Preview My Baby's Got Somethin'

  • 11 Preview Boogie Chillen' #2 (take 1)

  • 12 Preview Boogie Chillen' #2 (take 2)

  • 13 Preview Boogie Chillen' #2 (aka Jump Chillun - extended take 4)

  • 14 Preview Boogie Chillen' #2 (aka I Gotta Be comin' Back - extended take)

  • 15 Preview Boogie Chillen' #2 (aka 21 Boogie - alt extended take)

  • 16 Preview Roll 'n' Roll (alt take)

  • 17 Preview Rollin' Blues

  • 18 Preview Three Long Years Today

  • 19 Preview Strike Blues (extended take)

  • 20 Preview Do My Baby Think Of Me?

  • 21 Preview Give Me Your Phone Number (alt take)

  • 22 Preview The Story Of A Married Woman (alt take)

  • 23 Preview Moon Is Rising (alt take)

Side 3

  • 01 Preview John L's House Rent Boogie (aka House Rent Boogie - alt take)

  • 02 Preview John L's House Rent Boogie (alt take I/T)

  • 03 Preview Queen Bee

  • 04 Preview Grinder Man

  • 05 Preview Walkin' This Highway

  • 06 Preview Women In My Life (aka Goin' Away Baby)

  • 07 Preview Tease Me Baby (aka Tease Your Daddy)

  • 08 Preview I Need Lovin' aka Tease Me Over Baby (aka Tease Me Over Baby - alt take)

  • 09 Preview How Can You Do It

  • 10 Preview I'm In The Mood

  • 11 Preview I'm In The Mood (humming overdub)

  • 12 Preview I'm In The Mood (harmonica overdub)

  • 13 Preview I'm In The Mood (alt take - aka "original one voice")

  • 14 Preview Turn Over A New Leaf

  • 15 Preview It Hurts Me So

  • 16 Preview It Hurts Me So (alt take)

  • 17 Preview I Got Eyes For You

  • 18 Preview I Got Eyes For You (alt take 2 or 5)

  • 19 Preview Key To The Highway

  • 20 Preview I Got The Key (alt take - Key To The Highway)

  • 21 Preview Bluebird Blues

  • 22 Preview That's All Right

  • 23 Preview It's Time For Lovin' To Be Done

  • 24 Preview That's All Right Boogie (underdub)

Delivery & Returns


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Press quotes


"both for lovers of the early post-war Detroit blues and for those who admire Hooker’s oeuvre, this is anessential buy. Grab it now!" Blues and Rhythm (CD of the Month)

MOJO ★★★★★ 

Record Collector ★★★★★ 

A Record Collector Reissue of the Year 2020

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