- uploaded: Jan 10, 2013
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Canned Heat - Live At Montreux is another gem from the Eagle Rock Entertainment collection. This concert on DVD, from 1973, not only portrays the great Bob ‘The Bear’ Hite in action, it’s one of the finest shows in existence containing some of the original and early lineup. It’s also a fine tribute to just how raw and spontaneous the blues-rock stage shows of the late sixties and early Seventies were. Furthermore, when someone states (and they often do) that Canned Heat was the exemplary white blues band of the era, this recorded footage is testimonial to the fact that they were at least on a pedestal with the best. It was the ‘boogie’ part of their music style, from the school of John Lee Hooker, that set them apart from their counterparts in the subliminal genus of ‘white boys play the blues’.
The show begins with a rollicking ‘On The Road Again’, in which Hite does his fine signature harmonica part and bluesy vocal, backed by the Gibson tones of guitarists Henry Vestine and James Shane. The driving rhythm section of Richard Hite on bass and Fito De La Parra on drums (the only remaining member in today’s version of Heat), and the exceptional blues keyboard playing of Ed Beyer, keep the boogie groove going strong. This whole show is a garage style blues-rock extravaganza, and easily a performance to cherish for years to come, especially for lovers of the early ‘blues becomes rock’ period.
Let’s talk a bit about the silver lining on this amazing video. Although it’s extremely unfortunate that Alan ‘Blind Owl’ Wilson, group cofounder and vocalist, couldn’t be part of it, as he had passed away three years earlier, the show gets a huge boost in showmanship from a special guest, Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown. During the four songs in which Gatemouth takes to the helm, the band takes a backseat and does an amazing job at supporting one of the true greats in the business, another fine quality Canned Heat has been known for anyway. They’re truly (and still are) an all around great blues band, alone and as backup to others.
This performance is of much significance to fans of Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown as it is to those of Canned Heat. The Texas bluesman, who passed away last year at the age of 81, is in his hearty prime here in 1973. A solid, bass tone comes from his Gibson Firebird guitar, only complementing the brighter and more forthright tones of the other two players. ‘Please Mr. Nixon’, lyrically, is Brown’s political statement of the day, one that isn’t too far off base from the words of bluesmen and rockers of today. Brown performs wonderfully on vocal, guitar, violin, and harmonica before Hite and the boys take over the show again, boogying into renditions of ‘Let’s Work Together’, ‘Rock And Roll Music’, and ‘Shake ‘N Boogie’. The audio and video is pretty good, too.
Canned Heat - Live At Montreux 1973:
1. On The Road Again
2. Please Mr Nixon
* Canned Heat
* Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown ....butlincat