The Healer is a blues album by John Lee Hooker, released in 1989 by Chameleon Music Group Chameleon. The album features collaborations with Bonnie Raitt, Charlie Musselwhite, Los Lobos and Carlos Santana, among others.Wikipedia
“The Healer” by John Lee Hooker (1989) This album is an okay introduction to the blues, performed by one of the blues legends in American music. As an album, however, it is tainted by its collaborative nature, undoubtedly driven by commercial concerns. It should have been described as “by John Lee Hooker and Friends”. Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Canned Heat, Los Lobos, and George Thorogood all made musical contributions. Unfortunately, these contributions had an adulterating effect on the pure blues artistry of John Lee Hooker. If the listener can focus on his performance instead of the backing music and collaborators, he/she can get a sense of what made John Lee Hooker great—and greatly influential. Now, the happy result of this sad collaborative feature is that the production provided recognition (and income) for Mr. Hooker in his waning years. He was 73 years old when the album was released. The title track’s lyrics help explain why listening to the blues is an uplifting experience. To more fully understand this, it helps to have lived south of, say, Mayflower, Arkansas and then moved to Detroit, Michigan. Some readers of these notes will understand the reference. Hooker’s guitar and vocals are nearly superlative. Pure Hooker can be heard on the last three tracks. Among these, “Rocking Chair” stands out. On “Rocking Chair”, one gets a good feel for how classic blues performers can (intentionally) drop tempo altogether, uniting guitar and voice in strict service to the ‘soul’ of the blues. This ambience had origins in Southern Protestant preaching, and should be approached from that perspective. Guitar on “My Dream” is distractingly out of tune. On “No Substitute”, you can feel the struggle against the maintenance of tempo between vocal and guitar on the one hand, and whoever is tapping rhythm (maybe Hooker himself?) on the other. For my money (and listening pleasure) just let the damn tempo go. This album is more accessible than classic blues, but for the real thing, try “House of the Blues” by John Lee Hooker (1967). 3/5
not even flaccid 80s production can kill the blues
The Healer - John Lee Hooker 1. The Healer - 4/5 2. I’m In The Mood - 3/5 3. Baby Lee - 2/5 4. Cuttin’ Out - 2/5 5. Think Twice Before You Go - 3/5 6. Sally Mae - 3/5 7. That’s Alright - 3/5 8. Rockin’ Chair - 3/5 9. My Dream - 4/5 10. No Substitute - 4/5 Overall: 3.1/5 or 62% Fave Songs: The Healer
John Lee Hooker is excellent, I could bathe in his music all day long.
Like that classical blues album. Very crystal mix, psychedelic vocals and perfect balanced instruments!
Legend. John Lee Hooker is a legend. And for good reason. Though the record is full of guest artists who all put their fingerprints on the songs, John Lee pulls everything back to a cohesive whole, grounding every track in his particular flavor of electric blues. "The Healer" is a canvas across which John Lee Hooker and his guests provide contrast to each other in a way that allows everyone to shine. It's an incredibly balanced record and an absolute pleasure to listen to.
I'm not super crazy about albums with a million collaborations like this. Was worried this would be like those Santana records in the late 90's (You know, the one with "Smooth" and the Matchbox 20 guy) where every track is basically just in the style of the collaborator and the main artist is just sort of a show-piece in the background. First track (ironically with Santana) is definitely kind of like this but as it went on it (largely) escaped that trap. Still, it feels like this is probably not his best work - more of his introduction to mainstream audiences. It's fairly stripped down, straight ahead blues. Enjoyable but not that inspiring. I suspect his back catalog is much stronger than this record. Still, glad he got paid by this record - sounds like it let him live out the rest of his life without money worries. It's fine but not great, 3 stars.
I really liked In the mood, neat that Bonnie Raitt was on it. This Isn't my first exposure to John Lee Hooker. He's so fucking good, this isn't my favorite work of his but it is good, it's a bit overproduced it feels like at times. But even that can't kill the Blues baby.
Hooker is a legendary blues artist, without a doubt. I'm a huge fan of his album with Canned Heat, Hooker 'n Heat. I was excited to here some more traditional blues styling from him, but this album isn't quite that. It's something of a mix of styles, but there's still a throughline of Hooker's blues. The story behind this is more interesting than the music itself for me: released when Hooker was 73, and it got him his first Grammy and achieved a level of success that permitted John Lee Hooker to live out the end of his life in comfort." That's a beautiful thing. I enjoyed quite a few tracks on here, but it didn't wow me as a whole. Still, an enjoyable listen. I hope we get more from him on the list. Favorite tracks: Sally Mae, Rockin' Chair, The Healer. Album art: A bit spooky, like someone's reaching out from beyond the grave. I'll trust that it's a healer, but I'm keeping my distance. 3.5/5
Given the rather embarrassing cover and the vintage of 1989, I lessened my expectations of this album, even though I have loved plenty of John Lee Hooker joints. And the grimness of the 80s production on the opening track made my gums recede, sounding exactly like a shifty, leisure-suited band in an especially dingy bar playing Midnight at the Oasis. So why did John Lee Hooker lose his creative bearings on this album? Well, the first seven tracks are all collaborative, but they lack any sense of creative tension or exploration, an absence spotlit by the mouldy production. Maybe it's reverence towards John, causing the performances to seem mannerist and artificial. However, the last three tracks are solo efforts, and we finally hear the old Hooker magic. Seriously, the last three tracks rescue the album from embarrassment and belatedly demonstrate John Lee Hooker's majesty as an artist. So, the mean of the album is very much average, but the best tracks are touched by the hand of God and nobody else.
Real boring ngl... good instrumentals and voice just maybe not today LOL
I own this one and had not listened to it in a while.
J’adore cet album blues. 5* a reecouter calme et blues rock en maintenant wow et la fin parfaite
Surprised to hear Santana in such an album. Good vibes
Vielschichtig und tolles Blues Werk, mal sexy, mal spröde, mal nachdenklich und es tönt manchmal gar bluesfern, und ist dann doch seiner am nahesten, wo Kangkleid sanft changierend verläuft. 4.5
I learned of this when it was new and bought it then. Great collaborations!
Bisschen poppig produziert aber großartig
This album goes hard man is goated at the guitar
This is a must come back to album. Absolutely fantastic.
I’m not blues expert but I really enjoyed listening to this album. “The Healer” with that unmistakable Carlos Santana rhythm and guitar over John Lee Hooker’s vocals is a great opener to the album. Bonnie Raitt’s style is very evident even before she sings on “In The Mood.” This collaboration is also fantastic. This pattern repeats on the next five tracks with a different, incredibly talented guest artist imbuing John Lee Hooker’s seasoned blues performances with some of their musical styles. I loved all of the variety. Having little experience with John Lee Hooker, I appreciated having the opportunity to hear him on his own on the last three tracks. They are quite distinct but all share Hooker’s talented, emotional delivery. I don’t know that I’ve heard a more powerful ending to an album than “No Substitute.” The music drops away as Hooker delivers the last line on the album, ‘Just wasn’t there’. Amazing.
I first became an admirer of John Lee Hooker from his memorable cameo in a movie full of memorable cameos, The Blues Brothers. It makes me so glad to know that he finally received the recognition he deserved from this album. I love the collaborations and interactions between him and the many other amazing musicians on this album. I could listen to this over and over and over. It's hard to pick a favorite song as I love listening to this as a whole. "The blues healed me."
One of my all time favourite albums
Like many other people my age, I first heard of John Lee Hooker by seeing him in the Blues Brothers. So I was surprised when he released this back in 1989. Admittedly I didn't fully appreciate this album until I saw Henry Rollins talked about John Lee Hooker in an interview a few years that I really gave this a proper listen. Blues isn't my go to genre and I find the production a bit slick for my tastes in places. This is a great album, for one to have a performer in their 70s turning out such grooves is amazing and there is a real craft on display here.
Very cool bluesy album, I loved Carlos Santana's guitars.
Hard not to like this but the whole enterprise raises questions. Certainly it mostly avoids seeming a gimmick (of which there was a high likelihood). The sui generis voice with good cameos (Los Lobos and B. Raitt the best; Santana axe work just this side of obnoxious and just short of overwhelming the track). The whole thing works because JLH is front and center on every track. And last few tracks (JLH alone) may be the strongest overall. I want to give it a 5, but feel compromised. Is this really just JLH-lite? Why/how is this the only Hooker in the book? Would a 5 rating seem to degrade the earlier work? One feels certain there are superior records in the archives though blues scholars would be best positioned to say. Does it raise the issue of cultural appropriation (see also Graceland)? It feels pretty authentic (save for Santana opener). Is this an homage/honoring or could it be read as more established artists (including both white and people of color) feeling like he needed a rescuing or drafting off his lead (see also the entire history of rock/pop music)? Overall, I get an honoring vibe, but these are complex questions hovering around what really is an excellent listen. Plus, it’s inspiring me to go deeper into the back catalog … more of which should be “known” … let’s go 5.
This is gold. Not a bad one in the bunch. I listened through twice.
Enjoyed this very much
Doesn’t get more real than this. Hooker is himself on each song. Collaborations add colour, but his soul is in each song. Heartfelt, personal, beautiful.
nice guitar player
loved it, thanks!
I was never into blues, but hard to argue with The Godfather of blues!
I really enjoyed it, an older, slightly mellower John Lee Hooker.
Beautiful blues by the master himself. A must hear album
Absolutely fantastic, I have listened to John Lee Hooker many times but not this album, loved it.
Liked this one - always enjoy some blues
I realy liked this album. Blues is one of my many favorites.
Like the collaboration and classic blues.
I think I just like blues
I really got into this in the end. At first I wasn't sure but it took a second listen. Easy going and cool
Strong blues, "long, hazy summer day" vibes.
good blues and soul
very good album in my opinion with great funky styles. simple yet effective and i couldnt really get bored of it at all
Relaxte muziek! Ik kan er ook goed bij werken. En weer eens wat anders dan de Britse overkill hier de laatste tijd.
Very nice, I could listen to this is most settings, in fact I’m trying to think of a setting where this wouldn’t fit... and I can’t really think of one.
As of this day, Wednesday 30th June 2021, I Nigel Peter Dandelion Spackman, have only murdered 7 hookers. If you read anything different, it's libellous.
This was a great listen. Didn't love the first track, but even that wasn't bad.
Superb blues, and great use of guest artists
Blues muy fino y temas con canned heat, santana etc
Richtig gut. I'am in the mood ist mein favourite oder Think twice before you go?! Ich höre es einfach nochmal...
Titelsong the healer ist gleich ein Kracher. Santana auch eh super. Toller sound, gefühlvoll und trotzdem mit positivem vibe. Coverbild und titel haben mich auch angesprochen. 4 Sterne deluxe
Hab ich komplett durchgehört. Blues vom feinsten.
Pretty good, I enjoyed it. Both very good instrumentation (a shame it can't all be with Santana though!) and a very good voice with just a little bit of grit.
Good collaborations. Some good tracks on here, mostly toward the beginning of the album. It definitely drops off.
Nice and smooth
Authentic Blues that is somehow stripped away while still having larger supporting instrumentation. Hooker asserts himself as a mainstay within the genre, and delivers an album worthy of his legacy.
Good stuff. Made for a nice compliment to an early morning l hot tub
Who knew that the blues could uplift? Great album.
Great blues album. Definitely deserves a relisten.
I forgot how much I enjoyed listening to the blues.
I'm not generally much for blues albums, but this one was really interesting. It incorporated a lot of elements of other musical styles into it. It's also nice to hear a blues album with good production, since so many albums from earlier eras suffer from a lack of production value 4/5
Great blues. Cool features. Like Santana and Bonnie raitt
Clima bom com o blues com as participações especiais
Great performances all around.
Sweet! John Lee Hooker on his own is always a great listen; throw in guest stars like Bonnie Raitt, George Thorogood, Robert Cray, etc....soooo good. Really nice album.
Great blues album!
Sinfully soulful. Will be checking this guy out more. Effortlessly cool and groovy
I really enjoyed this album. I had not really been all that familiar with John Lee hooker in the past.
this one kicked off a huge boost in interest in the venerable bluesman - but it did so by remaining true to what made him special, honouring his roots, his great voice, and his heart. Many guests, great vibe throughout.
Great blues and amazing collaborations.
Old friend from the Oakland days
Meget lækkert, især at de havde Santana med!
I'm in the Mood is just amazing & love this album!
It's an album with lots of collaborations with other artists. Some, like Los Lobos, work a lot better than others, like Santana. After the terrible first song of the album is slowly turns into a real bluesy John Lee Hooker album. 3,5 stars
Some great blues from JLH and some of 1989's more mainstream artists. Loved The Healer with Carlos Santana, I'm in the Mood with Bonnie Raitt, Baby Lee with Robert Cray, Cuttin' Out with Canned Heat, and Think Twice Before You Go with Los Lobos. I found the second half of the album much less fun. (I guess I like my blues to be fun.) I'd love to hear more from John Lee Hooker though.
I went to the Church of Blues today, and it was healing.
Okay, now this is my shit right here. What an absolute vibe. Pure blues, pure vibes, pure 4/5, close to a 5, just needed to be longer.
What a bop. Had no expectations and loved this start to finish. Lyrically it's not particularly inspired but musically fantastic with a high energy start that melds into a more mellow mood by the end. It's a 4.5, if the system would allow!
It was really good but probably my least favorite so far.
Leuk blues album
Loving Santana's collaboration on the title track, along with the percussion. Great combination. Awesome singing and guitar by Bonnie Rait on 'I'm in the mood'. Otherwise great guitar work and vocals throughout the album.
5th April 2022 Listened in the morning while working from home before going out to meet sav and watch the Liverpool match (benfica 1-3) and he asked me to be one of his best men! Wasn’t crazy about the Santana combo to open but you can’t not love a bit of JLH. Elder statesmen of the blues.
Great album, and I have another of his albums that includes a number of the songs on this one. Very much enjoyed some good old blues with modern(ish...) artists. 4
pretty good blues sounds. I liked to variety of artists paired with John Lee.
Solid Blues and Rock n' Roll
What a great album! The guitar play is textbook perfect, without being too much or overshadowing the vocals.
Some great collaborations with Uncle John. What a man, singer and guitarist he was. Particularly love the Santana collab.
Highlights: Healer, In the Mood.
pretty good blues album. there are a few songs where the 80s production shows but other than that it's a solid album
Sounds good! Nice for a background
Excellent newer blues.
Wow, pretty late album from JLH. Very solid, very bluesy. (7/10) FT: The Healer, Think Twice Before You Go
Well not normally my cup of tea but this is actually a nice restrained and classy blues album - surprising for me to find it enjoyable because normally I find the genre tiresome. Listen to this on a swelteringly hot humid day for maximum pleasure.
I was torn between a 4-5 star. Lots of bops, cool guests, cool sounds
Typical 80's overproduction. The songs were good, but too polished for Hooker's style of blues. Thank heaven for the last 5 tracks, from "Sally Mae" to the end. THAT was John Lee blues.
He’s got the Blues
Feels like a tale of two albums here. I did not like the over-produced first half with all the guest appearances. Too much hokey extra "flare" added in, like on the title track (sounded like a Sade song) and the tracks with Canned Heat and Los Lobos. I didn't mind his duet with Bonnie Raitt since they were just playing and singing; ditto for Baby Lee, Sally Mae, and That's Alright where the guests were just playing guitar or harmonica. Still, I much preferred the stripped down last three tracks especially Rockin' Chair and No Substitute. Feels like a 3.5, but I'm rounding up because the legend was 73 and still holding it down when he put out this album.
Ah, the old trope: "If the old guy can't sell the record on his own, let's get people who are influenced by him to guest on the album." (Although if we got everyone influenced by JLH there would be no room to hear anyone...) Still, for the most part, I liked the album. I didn't feel like they were trying to pigeonhole him into songs he wouldn't really do. I thought the last two songs dragged on a bit too much, but sometimes that happens in the blues. They overstay their welcome. Never been a big fanned of Canned Heat, but they weren't as overbearing as I thought they would be on Cuttin't Out. The album, as a whole, isn't as straight-up blues as I was expecting. But even so, I enjoyed it for what it was. Probably the stand out songs here were the first three tracks and the one with Los Lobos.
Some fantastic rockin' blues from a true legend.
Not my preferred genre but nonetheless an enjoyable album!
Great Blues with lots of great collaborators
Skip the first song, rest is golden.
Good bluest album
Really enjoyed the blues style and pacing
Even though in some ways this is the kind of blues that ends up all sounding the same to me, I think the different guests really made the songs they were on distinctive. And I liked his singing, and the guitar was really good.
I'm not sure how to describe this album, it's not a perfect album but also it isn't bad, it's just blues that I could enjoy listening from time to time. Some songs are repetitive but even that doesn't make the album boring it's just a peculiar album
I enjoyed this, but then I knew I would. John Lee Hooker is The Tits when it comes to blues. This isn't quite what I expected, being a touch more 80s than anything I've heard by him before. Good though.
I thought this was a pretty good album calling back to classic Blues music. I quite enjoyed this, though I admit some of the songs seemed a little repetitive. Favourite: Cuttin' Out
It's OK. His voice is lovely.
I could listen to this all day, and I almost did. A great and accessible blues record with some big name guest appearances. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: I'm In The Mood Date listened: 07/10/22
Very good. Never thought that blues could be this good.
This was a major comeback for the 72 year old blues legend, during a time I was very much into blues music myself. My obsession with the blues has faded a lot over the years, but after a few listens I can still appreciate the album today. Most of the songs have a very stripped down setting, which I have always preferred when it comes to this genre. The recording sounds very crisp as well, and there are several interesting guest appearances to check out.
For coming out in 1989 this certainly had an old jazz feel which was cool! I enjoyed this!
This was a lovely experience! Roots blues music is perfect for Mondays! It's not one of the best albums of my life, but is absolutely good to listen to these clean guitars!
One of the great classics
I didn't know what to expect with this album at all. The first song I thought, "this sounds a lot like Santana, was Santana considered blues?"...its because Santana collaborated on the song. Great album.
Some very good songs. Had never gotten into him. Great voice.
6/23 Disco blues. Standout Tracks: The Healer, Cuttin' Out, Sally Mae
5.5/10 FT: I'm in the mood
Solid blues jams. The first track blew me away and I was like “holy shit he sounds like Santana”.... the track just featured Santana tho lol
Typically classic blues stuff doesn't do it for me, but this one's pretty good. I like the different featured guests, so sometimes a little too much 80s glossy sheen creeps in.
Liked it a lot, but I rarely feel in the mood for the blues.
not bad. bit boring
3 ruhig und nett
Some nice collaborations > I liked the Bonnie R song and Carlos' guitar didn't need an introduction. A lot less edge here than on earlier Johny Lee material. Due to his age, I'm sure, & the slick production. A bit smooth for me.
Unexpected treat. Nice smooth music, never heard of this guy before.
Alright but not amazing
Thought this was excellent. Enjoyed the guitar playing throughout.
i couldn't be arsed with all the roadhouse blues stuff, its just cheesy, even if he was the guy that came up with it. the slow blues towards the end, now some of that was excellent.
Solider Blues und zum Teil echt schicke Solis. Ich möchte auch die rauchige Stimme. Außerdem bedeutend passender zu meinem Hörrythmus (morgens nach dem Aufstehen).
Etwas frickelig, ich mag die großen Gitarrenhelden. Müsste das aber noch Mal in Ruhe hören...
Liked this. Thought the collaborations brought something a bit more to the album.
Good old blues.
Cool 90s rap with some darker undertones
Mixed feelings about this one. It's so clearly a master at work, collaborating with other superstars. Yet this album has somehow failed to draw me in. I'd be into it in one moment, then it would fade to background music the next.
-Great intro and guitar in general in "The Healer" -Great of it wasn't too exciting
Track 1 and 2 are goat, blues bangers all round.
The first track is genuinely a little bit healing... nice.
Blues is the one genre I can’t get super excited about but this one was nice
Smooth easy listening
R&B de abuelos pero no en un mal sentido
The title track might be my least favorite, but enjoyed most the others.
Redelijk album, beetje te commercieel naar mijn smaak en vooral een weinig origineel. Kan er verder goed naar luisteren, vooral de eerste twee nummers uiteraard, maar geen hoogvlieger
Fijne sound, aantal herkenbare tracks. Niet genoeg om mijn aandacht hele album vast te houden.
Ik herken meteen Carlos Santana in het eerste nummer, dat sowieso erg bekend klinkt. Vervolgens ook een bekende damesstem (Bonnie Raitt) in het tweede nummer. Dit is heerlijk bluesmateriaal, al had ik wat meer up-tempo willen hebben voor de vrijdag, laatste dag van de week. Mark zal blij zijn, want van hem leerde ik gisteren Stevie Ray Vaughan kennen, dus vast een enorme liefhebber van het genre. Helaas ook bij dit blues-album is dat alle liedjes snel op elkaar beginnen te lijken. Uiteraard kun je dan naar de tekst gaan luisteren, maar het blijft muziek he, geen boek. Voor mij een prima album, niks mis mee. Favoriet blijft titelsong "The Healer". Ik ga nog een nachtje (update: weekendje) slapen over het aantal sterren.
Ok steady blues...good for the right move and mood
Bello ma nn penso il migliore
Good blues album.
Liked a few songs. Some good star power here
It’s insanely “cool” in parts
Pretty cool. Very much like Gil Scott Heron crossed with Ali Farka Toure. Santana guitar mixed in too. Hard to rate, not a genre I'd regularly go back to but I do seem to have a soft/spot for blues/Country vibes from time to time. Seems like the quality of music deserves more than a 3,but I think Il give it a 3 just cos I'm not sure if it's quite a 4 for me personally. 3
John Lee Hooker's shtick at this point feels a bit old, not bad but not sure any new material does much for me.
Man, I hope this is not the only John Lee Hooker album on this list... It's alright but I would much rather listen to an earlier record of his without all the guests.
I like this and appreciate it for the soulful blues that is is, but it doesn't excite me particularly.
JLH is a legend. This album is one of his better latter albums. Still a little too polished.
As much as I really wanted to like this one, I mostly found it too repetitive for my taste. I do like his voice and can hear the good guitar playing, but I didn't really enjoy listening to it all that much.
Good soulful blues this is. Enjoyed the title track a lot, kinda got bored in the end, but glad I listened
This is fun actually
I think this album is decent, but I just didn’t enjoy it. His voice is just too monotonous and distorted. I’m not into it.
Schön, aber so richtig Hooker hör ich nicht raus…
Enjoyed this more than expected, I was putting if off but the it didn’t bore me like blues has a tendency to do.
Nice sound. Groovy, Rock, Good background music.
I read that this got Hooker the recognition he deserved his whole life, got him a Grammy, and the royalties allowed him to live his late life in relative comfort. Those are great things, but for the little I know of his other music, this doesn't show why he was great. The Bonnie Raitt song and the tracks near the end after he dropped the collabs were the best, and getting there.
Weird. Sounds like it’s music for guys that wear lots of rings.
Pretty good blues album with some big names. Don't care for it enough to relisten.
Good, not my style.
John Lee Hooker is forever Aces in my book for his appearance in The Blues Brothers alone. I can't help but think this isn't the John Lee Hooker album that should be on the list to represent his greatness. He's a bit overshadowed here by the likes of Bonnie Raitt (who was experiencing something of a career renaissance at the time) and George Thorogood. And he's not doing himself any favors hanging out with Carlos Santana. But you've got to have some Hooker on this list. I just wish the album had "Boom Boom".
While initially frightened by those healing hands (looks like babadook) this album was anything but scary. Classic blues in the best way with Santana even joining in the fun. Enjoyed this one!
Chill blues album. Songs become very repetitive and samey as it goes on. There's a smoky, magical sound to some of the tracks which feels good and Hooker's voice is soft and smooth and perfect for this kind of music, but it's just too much of the same.
Good blues. 3.0/5
Another name that I am familiar with but haven't really listened to. Decent blues album.
Pretty good blues album
hey do you guys like the blues
lovely voice, excellent guitar, lovely jazz
ihan kivaa bluesia. jotenkin vähän valui toisesta korvasta ulos, ei jääny kovinkaan voimakkaasti mieleen.
Hyvin toimii ja herätti janon kuunnella enemmänkin bluesia.
kunnon hyvää letkeetä blues meininkiä, ebin santana :D ehkä en kehtaa myöntää että tykkäsin niin paljon että ansaitsis neljä tähteä, mutta 3.5 ainakin.
I’m far impressed with his previous work. This album was a far departure in style and it doesn’t work well stylistically.