Canned Heat is an American rock band that was formed in Los Angeles in 1965. The group has been noted for its interpretations of blues material and for its efforts to promote interest in this type of music and its original artists. It was launched by two blues enthusiasts Alan Wilson and Bob Hite, who took the name from Tommy Johnson’s 1928 “Canned Heat Blues”, a song about an alcoholic who had desperately turned to drinking Sterno, generically called “canned heat”, from the original 1914 product name Sterno Canned Heat, After appearances at the Monterey and Woodstock festivals at the end of the 1960s, the band acquired worldwide fame with a lineup consisting of Hite (vocals), Wilson (guitar, harmonica, and vocals), Henry Vestine and later Harvey Mandel (lead guitar), Larry Taylor (bass), and Adolfo de la Parra (drums).
The music and attitude of Canned Heat attracted a large following and established the band as one of the popular acts of the hippie era. Canned Heat appeared at most major musical events at the end of the 1960s, performing blues standards along with their own material and occasionally indulging in lengthy ‘psychedelic’ solos.
Canned Heat’s recent studio albums include Boogie 2000 (1999), and Friends In The Can (2003), which features various guests, including John Lee Hooker, Taj Mahal, Trout, Corey Stevens, Roy Rogers, Mandel, Larry Taylor, and Vestine. Eric Clapton and Dr. John made guest appearances on the Christmas Album (2007). In July 2007, a documentary, Boogie with Canned Heat: The Canned Heat Story, was released, as was a biography of Wilson, Blind Owl Blues, by music historian Rebecca Davis Winters. Here are the Canned Heat albums ranked.
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10. Friends in the Can (2003)
Friends in the Can is one of their best CDs ever! Ironically, I would only agree that the new version of Let’s Work Together is only average, but, the rest of the tracks are truly fabulous. Great blues, great rock, great sound. I have been a Heat fan for 35 years. I’m not a teenybopper reviewer!
9. Boogie 2000 (1999)
“I remember Canned Heat for their classics of the late sixties and early seventies, particularly On the road again (a song title that was later used by the great Willie Nelson, but his equally great song is very different from Canned Heat’s). I never knew anything about Canned Heat’s more recent music until I came across this album at the end of the millennium when I was looking for Y2K songs that might appeal to me. I was quite impressed by their Y2K song (it was the best such song that I bought) but was even more impressed by the rest of this set.
The opening Wait and see is the standout track, but there’s a lot of great music here, just waiting to be heard – and even though that Y2K song may sound dated now, the 11 other tracks are more than worth the price. If this is your first Canned Heat album, and you enjoy it, buy a compilation of their early music – you’ll love it!”
8. Blues Band (1998)
“Great sound!!! Robert Lucas is great. I think the “bear” and the “owl” would be proud. Jimi Hendrix studied Henry Vistine and now that he’s gone too we will miss him. Canned Heat has gone through many changes in members but the one thing that has stayed consistent is that ALL the new members were big fans of the band before they joined, including Robert Lucas. This CD is well written and has a great sound; ain’t no Madonna here!!!
7. Historical Figures and Ancient Heads (1971)
“Canned Heat was an important band, fusing hippie psychedelia with raw, electric blues and boogie. They were one of America’s few answers to the British blues dominance of the period. This release came at a pivotal time in the band’s personal history, soon after the death of founding member Al Wilson. Featured replacement Joel Scott Hill’s guitar approach took them into new directions. It is also the last recordings by Canned Heat’s Henry Vestine, one of the the most under-rated guitarists of his time. Listen to the lengthy track ‘Utah’ as proof of this man’s incredible and unique talent. Little Richard’s involvement is minor but enjoyable. While I own many releases by Canned Heat, this one stands alone in both quality and importance.”
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6. On the Road Again (1989)
“Canned Heat have had numerous line-ups over the decades (just Wikipedia Canned Heat to see what I mean) & this CD doesn’t give any information of when/who/where, which means you could be listening to the original chart recordings or commendable later recordings. Having said that, if you’re a Blues fan, it really doesn’t matter because the energy and enjoyment are there to savor. At least 5 of the tracks are ‘Live’, so if you’re looking for the studio versions of ‘Going Up The Country’and ‘Let’s Work Together’ this isn’t the album for you.”
5. Hallelujah (1969)
“This disc is probably not as well known as some of the others because the single released from this set, “Time Was”, was not on par with the previous singles. Personally I would have released “Same All Over” but no matter. Chronologically, this is the 4th Liberty Album and came out between the hits “Going Up the Country” and “Let’s Work Together”. Unlike the other disks the Bear doesn’t dominate here. Al Wilson (harp and guitar)wrote or co-wrote 6 of the 11 original songs. There is a lot more of his harp playing here than on its predecessor,”Living the Blues”. This one rocks, gang. Incidentally, I wouldn’t get too excited over the 4 “bonus tracks” two are alternate versions, a third track “Poor Moon” can also be found on “Uncanned”. The fourth track, “Low Down” is a pleasant surprise. It’s the original “B side” of the “Time Was” single and didn’t make it on to the original LP. (By the way, the sound quality is very good!)”
4. Living the Blues (1968)
“Fantastic set from the Heat. This album shines in the recordings of Canned Heat. Great songs absolutely great musicianship. The star of the set is “Going Up the Country” a song which is in the American lexicon of TV commercials now. But Bob Hite’s song “Sandy’s Blues” is an absolutely stunning tune. “Walking By Myself” is another tune which is super, and one covered by Gary Moore much later. “Parthenogenesis” is a long cut, divided into nine parts highlighted by Alan Wilson’s harmonica and jaw-harp, John Mayall’s great piano and Henry Vestine’s great guitar. This song gives the Heat a chance to get a little psychedelic. Disc two consists of two tracks “Refried Boogie (Part I) and Refried Boogie (Part II)” which allows the Heat to play extended jams, Fito’s drum solo is great. Worth snapping up if you’re a Boogie fan!”
3. Canned Heat (1967)
Canned Heat is the 1967 debut album by Canned Heat. It was released shortly after their appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival and is a blues cover album. Canned Heat is the 1967 debut album by Canned Heat. It was released shortly after their appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival and is a blues cover album.
Canned Heat was re-released on CD in 1999 by French label MAM Productions under the title Rollin’ and Tumblin’.
2. Future Blues (1970)
“Let’s hear it for FUTURE (of the) BLUES. This is a fine blues album, probably better than Boogie With Canned Heat; and a little surprising Harvey Mandel did not play (guitar) with the band longer. “Sunflower” Vestine would return for the next Canned Heat album.
The band’s best post-Woodstock studio album,1970’s Future Blues also marked a commercial peak of sorts. Their hit single remake of Wilbert Harrison’s Let’s Work Together (a chart hit for him the previous year) drove the original LP’s successful chart run and probably exposed these FM radio stalwarts to a wider audience due to the single’s Top 40 airplay. The album seems more focused and less boogie-fied than prior Canned Heat efforts, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This reissue features five most interesting bonus tracks, including the tighter mono single version of Let’s Work Together.1.
1. Boogie with Canned Heat (1968)
“This is a classic! Recorded in 1968 by reinventors of the blues boogie, Canned Heat made a fantastic record, every track a killer! This is the earliest record by the lineup that was its greatest with Alan Wilson, Bob Hite, Henry Vestine, Larry Taylor, and Fito De La Parra. It has great blues, great boogie, great innovation, and some of the greatest playing you will hear either before or after. Alan Wilson’s harmonica is second to none, the rhythm section comprising Larry Taylor on bass and Fito on drums is tight and brilliant, lead singing by Bob Hite is strong, fun, and inviting, while lead guitar by Henry Vestine is both hypnotic and powerful. Such a great sound that sounds fresh on each and every playing. The CD has six bonus tracks that are really interesting too. This band is still really underrated after all these years but they are brilliant exponents of the blues and have combined the blues with an edgy rock that makes a synthesis that after almost 50 years has not been bettered. Brilliant!”