John Lee Hooker: That's My Story

  • 2001
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Documentary

More a concert film than an insightful documentary, this musical homage should delight the Blues legend's fans and win over the uninitiated. When he died on June 21, 2001, John Lee Hooker was the last living link with the Delta Blues. He picked cotton as a child and at age 14 ran away from Clarksville, Mississippi. In between factory jobs, he plunked out...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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More a concert film than an insightful documentary, this musical homage should

delight the Blues legend's fans and win over the uninitiated. When he died on June 21, 2001, John Lee Hooker was the last living link with the Delta Blues. He picked cotton as a child and at age 14 ran away from Clarksville, Mississippi. In between factory jobs, he plunked out a living as a street guitarist in

Memphis and Cincinnati. Young Hooker credited his stepfather with teaching him the Blues, but quickly perfected his own unique style. Despite the sadness of leaving home, Hooker had fond memories of his hungry years. Many older players served as mentors, and his talent eventually helped changed the widespread perception that the guitar was a twangy specialty item. Hooker, who was illiterate, wrote more than 600 songs, but promoters and record companies often took advantage and cheated him out of profits. Under the caring management of Mike Kappus, however, Hooker became too significant a music industry force to be swindled. As Hooker's reputation with serious music connoisseurs grew and he began collaborating with younger musicians, including Canned Heat and Carlos Santana. The first Blues musician to play England, Hooker even won a Grammy Award for a duet with Bonnie Raitt. Having survived drug abuse and a painful

divorce, the septuagenarian topped concert-hall bills until his death. "I never get enough of people lovin' me," he said, "and me lovin' them." Hooker's tight-lipped responses to most personal questions leave viewers on the outside looking in, but tributes from performers like Eric Clapton shine a light on his bluesy

majesty. And maybe that's enough — the "Boogie King" was never more alive than when he was on stage.

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  • Released: 2001
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: More a concert film than an insightful documentary, this musical homage should delight the Blues legend's fans and win over the uninitiated. When he died on June 21, 2001, John Lee Hooker was the last living link with the Delta Blues. He picked cotton as… (more)

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