Canned Heat – Stockholm 1973 | Album Review

cannedheatstockholmcdCanned Heat –¬†Stockholm 1973

Cleopatra Records

7 songs time-49:35

Canned Heat were the epitome of 60’s-70’s good vibe blues, boogie and rock bands. At the helm was a giant in both stature and presence in the person of Bob “The Bear” Hite. He along with Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson were big time blues record collectors that eventually started up the band in the 60’s. The musical guiding light was Alan Wilson who contributed unique vocals, slide guitar and harmonica. It was he who sang on most of their signature hits. Unfortunately he passed away from a drug overdose, but the band pushed ahead for many years in various configurations. I actually had planned to see them at New Jersey’s Lambertville Music Circus but he died a day or two before the show. I finally got to see them years later. They were good, but it wasn’t quite the same since Alan died and bassist extraordinaire Larry Taylor left the band.

The version of the band represented on this live recording taken from the Swedish TV show Opopoppa includes two of the founding members in vocalist Bob Hite and guitarist Henry “The Sunflower” Vestine. Drummer Fito De La Parra was preceded by Frank Cook, but has been a mainstay of the band through the majority of its’ existence. Although their hit making days were over by this time, they still remained a viable, vital and popular band particularly overseas. Only two of their signature songs are included in this set, but the current material holds up well and they also play a version of a boogie which was one of the bands cornerstones. The addition of a keyboard player gave a different twist to their sound.

They lead off with “Let’s Work Together”, one of their big hits and they still had it. The “Bear’s” voice sounds a bit hoarse here as elsewhere on the record, but it doesn’t detract from this powerful version. Ed Beyer’s organ sounds great and fits right in. Bob handles the vocal on “On the Road Again” as Alan was no longer on the planet. Henry Vestine plays some of his trademark distorted guitar solos. Guitarist James Shane takes the lead vocal on “Harley Davidson Blues” and it’s a tune that fits right into their repertoire. “Election Blues” finds Bob commenting on the political scene of the time. Bob’s brother Richard Hite, the bass player, lends his strong voice to “So Long Wrong”, a nice stretched out song that boogies along quite well.

They offer up their latest version of a boogie jam entitled “Shake ‘N’ Boogie” that is mainly an instrumental featuring the various band members along with some jiving from the vocalists. The sign-off song “Goodbye For Now” offers up much the same.

This live set stands up on its’ own, not as a relic of a long gone era. It’s totally enjoyable and features some fine playing along with the feel good hippie vibes.

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