Canned Heat

Band members               Related acts

- Antonio de la Barreda -- bass (1970-73)
- Ed Beyer -- keyboards (1973)

- Stuart Brotman -- bass ()
- Frank Cook -- drums (1965-68)

- Mark Andes -- bass (replaced Larry Taylor)
- Joel Scott Hill -- vocals, rhythm guitar  (replaced 

  Alan Wilson (1970-) 

- Richard Hite -- bass (1973 and 79)
- Robert "Bear" Hite (RIP 1981) -- vocals, percussion, harp

  (1965-73 and 79)
- Harvey Mandel - guitar (replaced Henry Vestine) (1969)
- Chris Morgan -- guitar (1979)
- Adolfo de la Parra - drums, percussion (1968-73 and 79)

  (replaced Frank Cook)
- James Shane -- bass (1973)
- Mark Skyer -- vocals, guitar (1979)

- Larry Taylor -- bass (replaced Stuart Brotman)

- Henry Vestine (RIP 1997) -- guitar (1965-69)

- Alan Wilson (RIP 1970) -- vocals, guitar, harp (1965-70)



- Canned Heat (with John Lee Hooker)

- Hial King (and His Newports)
- John Mayall (Harvey Mandel and Larry Taylor)
- Harvey Mandel (solo efforts)

- Pacific Gas & Electric (Frank Cook)

- Spirit (Mark Andes)

- Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention

  (Henry Vestine)


Genre: blues-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Future Blues

Company: Liberty

Catalog: LST-11008

Year: 1970

Country/State: Northridge, California

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: gatefold sleeve; minor ring wear

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4670

Price: $15.00

Cost: $66.0


To my ears Canned Heat's always been an acquired taste.  The band's penchant for retooling blues has it's fans, but simply doesn't do all that much for me.  That makes 1970's "Future Blues" somewhat of a surprise.  Co-produced by the band and Skip Taylor, this isn't a major stylistic departure for the group.  Blues remains the dominant influence, but this time around there's a surprisingly attractive rock edge to material such as 'Sugar Bee', 'That's All Right Mama' and 'Let's Work Together'.  Perhaps a reflection of new guitarist Harvey Mandel (replacing Henry Vestine), the album's tight, focused and (dare I say it?) ... almost commercial !!!  There's even a hit single in the form of 'Let's Work Together" b/w 'I'm Her Man (Liberty catalog number 56151).  The entire album's worth hearing though to this day Wilson's high pitched skat-styled vocals on the 1940's-styled pseudo-jump blues-styled 'Skat' drive me nuts.  Elsewhere the Wilson original 'My Time Ain't Long' is kind of bizarre in view of the fact he was dead by the end of the year.

"Future Blues" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Sugar Bee   (Eddie Shuler) -  
2.) Shake It And Break It   (Alan Wilson) - 
3.) That's All Right Mama   (Arthur Crudop) - 
4.) My Time Ain't Long   (Alan Wilson) - 
5.) Skat   (Alan Wilson) - 
6.) Let's Work Together   (Wilbert Harrison) - 

(side 2)
1.) London Blues   (Alan Wilson) - 
2.) So Sad (The World's In A Tangle)   (Robert Hite Jr. - Alan Wilson - Harvey Mandel - Samuel Taylor - Adolfo De La Parra) - 
3.) Future Blues   (Robert Hile Jr. - Alan Wilson - Harrvey Mandel - Samuel Taylor - Adolfo De La Parra) -  




Genre: blues-rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Live At Topanga Corral

Company: Wand

Catalog: WDS 693

Year: 1970

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Country/State: US

Comments: minor tear on front cover; couple of pops; bullet hole bottom left; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4670

Price: $8.00


Released by the Wand label, "Live At Topanga Corral" captured a series of 1966-67 live performances. In terms of sound quality the six tracks aren't bad, though the material's occasionally a bit raw ('Sweet Sixteen'). Exemplified by tracks such as 'Bullfrog Blues', 'I'd Rather Be the Devil' and 'Dust My Broom' the set clearly emphasizes their blues roots. Fine if you're into the genre; not so good if you were a fan of their more pop oriented output. (The album was originally released with a gatefold sleeve.)

"Live At Topanga Corral" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Bullfrog Blues (Canned Heat) - 7:21
2.) Sweet Sixteen (R. King - J. Josea) - 10:57
3.) I'd Rather Be the Devil (A. Leigh) - 5:10

(side 2)

1.) Dust My Broom (Elmore James) - 5:46
2.) Wish You Would (Billy Boy Arnold) - 8:03
3.) When Things Go Wrong (A. Leigh) - 9:08

Genre: blues-rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Historical Figures and Ancient Heads

Company: United Artists

Catalog: UAS-5557

Year: 1972

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Country/State: US

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5040

Price: $10.00


Canned Heat's one of those bands I keep wanting to like, but in spite of my best efforts I can't get there.  This 1972 set serves as a perfect example of why they continually frustrate and disappoint my ears.  Co-produced by Skip and Jim Taylor, "Historical Figures and Ancient Heads" offered up a rather dull set of white-boy blues.  Material such as 'Sneakin' Around', ''That's All Right' and the lone band original 'Utah' was certainly earnest and well meaning, but there wasn't a single original note to be found here and even less in the way of true inspiration.  'Cherokee Dance' may have been the year's dullest song.  They even managed to turn their collaboration with Little Richard on 'Rockin' with the King' into a disappointing formulaic rocker.  Perhaps because it was so out of place, the most entertaining track was the new age, jazzy feel instrumental 'I Don't Care What You Tell Me'.  It wasn't a particularly good song, just different.  Released as a single 'Rockin' with the King' b/w 'I Don't Care What You Tell Me' (United artists catalog number 50892  went top-100.  An earlier single 'Long Way from L.A.' b/w 'Hill's Stomp' (United Artists catalog number 50831) failed to chart.  Hardly a commercial juggernaut, the parent album still managed to hit # 87.

Elsewhere maybe it was just my middle class sensibilities, but for a band who'd recently lost a key member to a drug suicide (Alan Wilson), these guys didn't seem to have learned much - witness the album title, the cocaine soaked lyrics to 'Long Way from L.A.' and the drug paraphernalia that cluttered the inner sleeve photo.  

"Historical Figures and Ancient Heads" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Sneakin' Around   (Jimmy Robinson) - 4:52

2.) Hill's Stomp (instrumental)   (J. Hill) - 3:03

3.) Rockin' with the King    (Skip Taylor - Richard Penniman) - 3:12

4.) I Don't Care What You Tell Me (instrumental)    (Charles Lloyd) - 3:55

5.) Long Way from L.A.  (Jud Baker) - 3:06


(side 2)

1.) Cherokee Dance   (Robert Landers) - 4:26

2.) That's All Right   (Jimmy Rogers) - 5:28

3.) Utah   (Bob Hite - Henry Vestine) - 8:25



Genre: blues-rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  The New Age

Company: United Artists

Catalog: UA-LA049-F

Year: 1973

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Country/State: US

Comments: original reflective bronze cover; name sticker on front cover; cut lower right corner; original inner sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4785

Price: $8.00


In spite of the title, 1973's Skip Taylor produced "The New Age" isn't a major change for the band.  With Beyer, Hite and Shane all contributing material (there's one non-original), the results are a fairly predictable mixture of blues, country-ish and rock efforts.  Since it rocked harder than anything else on the set, I'd pick the opener 'Keep It Clean' as the standout track. The band's collaboration with Clara Ward 'Lookin' for My Rainbow' was also worth hearing.  United tapped the 'Rock and Roll Music' b/w 'Looking for a Rainbow' as a single (United Artists catalog number UA-XW167-W).  (The bronze colored cover was also kind of cool, though the original pressing neglected to show the band name, forcing United Artists to slap a large unattractive sticker on the cover.)

"The New Age" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Keep It Clean   (Bob Hite) - 

2.) Harley Davidson Blues    (James Shane) - 

3.) Don't Deceive Me    (Bob Hite) - 

4.) You Can Run, But You Sure Can't Hide    (Ed Beyer) - 

5.) Lookin' for My Rainbow  (James Shane) - 


(side 2)

1.) Rock and Roll Music  (Bob Hite) -

2.) Framed  (J. Leiber - M. Stoller) -

3.) Election Blues    (Ed Beyer) -