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Earl Hooker

Earl Hooker played and lived the blues. He played in a Delta style taken largely from Robert Nighthawk with a touch of T-Bone Walker, but he did it with a flair and flamboyance unmatched by any of his contemporaries. He was part of the Chicago scene but his style was not simply a Chicago sound, as he had a fondness for Country and Western and a leaning towards jazz. He experimented with any new technology he could afford (or steal). He used the slide not to play block chords but to race up and down a single string while his fingers as fast as any in the business produced dazzling melodic patterns, and when slide and wah-wah were used simultaneously he really made the guitar talk. No one could touch him for precision or control.

Earl Hooker was born in Clarksdale in 1930 which made him about 15 years junior to Muddy Waters (who was also from Clarksdale), and 12 years younger than John Lee Hooker. Earl was John Lee Hooker's first cousin, but that is where the similarity ended between these two.

Earl moved to Chicago at the age of one, and as a youngster and teenager, no doubt was exposed to the fertile blues scene there. Music came naturally as his parents were both playing musicians. He started playing guitar about 1945 after meeting Robert Nighthawk. Nighthawk had already cut records under the name of Robert Lee McCoy for the Bluebird label, and had been an accompanist for John Lee (Sonny Boy) Williamson on some of his sides for Bluebird.

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