Earl Hooker

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Earl Hooker
Birth name Earl Zebedee Hooker
Born January 15, 1929(1929-01-15)
Clarksdale, Mississippi, USA
Died April 21, 1970(1970-04-21) (aged 41)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Genres Blues
Occupations Musician
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1940s – 1970
Labels Arhoolie, Sun, King

Earl Hooker (born January 15, 1929 in Clarksdale, Mississippi; died April 21, 1970 in Chicago, Illinois) was an American blues guitarist.

Life and career[change | change source]

Early life[change | change source]

Earl Hooker was born Earl Zebedee Hooker in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He taught himself to play guitar around the age of 10 and began going to the Lyon & Healy Music School in 1941 soon after.[1]

Teen life[change | change source]

While a teen, Hooker played on Chicago street corners, sometimes with Bo Diddley. He also became friends with slide guitarist Robert Nighthawk, which led to Hooker playing slide guitar and some performances with Nighthawk's group outside of Chicago.

First band[change | change source]

In 1949, Hooker moved to Memphis, joined Ike Turner's band, and played in the South.

Hooker made his first recordings mainly 78 rpm and 45 rpm records in 1952 and 1953 for small labels Rockin', King, and Sun. Hooker spent most of the '60s playing in Chicago clubs with his band.

First album[change | change source]

In 1969 he recorded an album, Hooker 'n Steve, with organist Steve “Mr. Blues” Miller for Arhoolie Records. Hooker also played slide guitar on the 1962 Muddy Waters recording "You Shook Me". The 1970 album Sweet Black Angel, co-producer Ike Turner contain songs "I Feel Good", "Drivin' Wheel", "Country and Western", "Boogie", Don't Blot! "Shuffle", "Catfish Blues", "Crosscut Saw", "Sweet Home Chicago", "Mood", and "Funky Blues".

Death[change | change source]

Earl Hooker died at the age of 41 from tuberculosis. He is buried in the Restvale Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.[2] His story was told in a 2001 book by author Sebastian Danchin titled Earl Hooker, Blues Master.[3]

Discography[change | change source]

Year Title Genre Label
2006 An Introduction to Earl Hooker (Original Remastered) Blues Fuel 2000
1970 Sweet Black Angel Blues One Way Records
1969 Two Bugs & A Roach Blues Arhoolie
1969 Don't Have to Worry Blues Pony Canyon
1969 Hooker 'n Steve Blues Arhoolie

References[change | change source]

  1. Unsung Heroes of The Blues Earl Hooker: The Best Yet?
  2. Find a Grave: Earl Z. Hooker
  3. Danchin, Sebastian. Earl Hooker, Blues Master, University Press of Mississippi, (2001) - ISBN 157806306X.