Democrat put us on our feet/ These crazy women, they vote them out
Democrat put us on our feet/ These crazy women, they voted them out
But I don't think they make the same mistake /Won't make the same mistake, no more
They told them, send your sons home /
They did just that, they send them, home to stay without a job
I recommend, they won't make that same mistake, no more -- John Lee Hooker
Not exactly sure how I became responsible for people doing what they wanted to do knowing it was going to turn out poorly for them, but oh well...
Anyway, here's the article from Dangerous Minds and some pretty amazing blues playing in the Link from a 60s Detroit local rock and roll show. I think the band -- a couple of his kids and a bassist he played with a lot -- are really tight. He uses a lot of vibrato, but not like BB King. BB's has that sweet mournful sound, but Hooker's is more than a little dark and dangerous. Blues has that tendency to make you think of a smokey bar and bunch of people sitting and listening and dancing. Hooker's sound makes you think of the small caliber guns and straight razors in the alley. Something else happened however as I started listening to John Lee, picking and choosing titles from the ton available on Rhapsody. I realized that John Lee Hooker was an exemplar of the results of the Great Depression and the New Deal. Born in1917, in Clarksdale Mississippi where HW 61 merges going north and becomes HW 49, John Lee headed north in the early 40s along with some other juke joint players from Clarksdale, like Muddy Waters. While Waters and others headed for Chicago, Hooker and a few others carried the Blues to the auto factories in Detroit, Dearborn, Flint, Cleveland, Gary and Toledo. The Detroit sound led ultimately to the Motown sound, of course, but it's a difficult route to trace, since the Detroit Blues sound is grittier and rougher than the classic Chicago blues. You want to hear traces of John Lee, you'll catch that grit in bands like Bob Seeger's various incarnations, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels in his different incarnations and, of course, MC5.
So it's a different style, but there's also a very political element that pops up. The most loyal of the autoworkers, the meatpackers and the tire factory workers to the New Deal and Franklin Roosevelt and, of course, Eleanor were the black workers. He gives a pretty good account of that feeling in Democrat Man Blues. Interestingly, he blames the election of Republicans on the "women" who thought that they were going to have luxury with the Republicans back in.
So, I guess in his way, John Lee was a forerunner of Fox News, making a pretty wild and ultimately wrong accusation as an excuse for a bigger problem -- even then, in 1946 to 1960, Americans had a problem with short memories and simple solutions.
Hooker stayed in Detroit until he died. He was one of those somewhat reluctant travelers on the Blues Highway. There's a great story I've heard Eric Burdon tell about how he went to hear Hooker in 1964 at some concert in London and was knocked out. With a couple of mates from the Animals, he went backstage as British Rock and Blues royalty and got introduced. They hit it off -- probably some Scotch involved in that -- and Burdon invited Hooker to stay with him in his home in Newcastle on Tyne. Feeling as out of place in London as he could, Hooker said "Yeah, man, cool."
Problem was, while Hooker had a reputation as a tough guy from Detroit, Birmingham was a lot tougher in 1964. Burdon got Hooker a gig in the club where the Animals first ruled, and while the crowd loved him, they scared the shit out of the man! Couldn't understand them because of that crazy Northeast English accent and that was a tough crowd. Of course, in 1964 Detroit and the auto industry was top of the world, but Newcastle's primary industries -- shipbuilding, export of coal, heavy manufacturing --were in a long power slide to irrelevancy and extinction. Wiki has some discussion about how the city is now noted for its environmental issues, but Newcastle did a great job of foreshadowing Detroit's future.
When the jobs go, the city dies the death of a thousand cuts, and the people despair. So knives, shivs, guns, brass knuckles, flying Newcastle Brown Ale bottles and so on were the norm. In fact, in the 80s Hooker was doing a concert with Burdon as a guest in Cobo Hall in Detroit. Hooker introduced him, and then said, "Man, I stayed with him in Newcastle back in the 60s. Lord that was a tough town. Little bar gig, lots of people having fun, but they scared the living hell out of me."