The collaborative, star-packed 1989 album was feted at the Grammys for Hooker’s duet with Bonnie Raitt, “I’m In The Mood.” It also contained pairings with Carlos Santana, George Thorogood, Los Lobos, Canned Heat, Charlie Musselwhite, and Robert Cray. The new vinyl edition was pressed at Quality Records Pressing (QRP), its lacquers cut by award-winning engineer Bernie Grundman.
Hooker was 73 at the time of the album’s release and his place in the blues firmament was long established. But no one could have predicted the dimensions of the comeback represented by the success of The Healer, more than 40 years after he had first come to fame with the R&B smash “Boogie Chillen’.” The so-called King of the Boogie influenced every blues artist in his wake, some of whom had the opportunity to pay their respects as guests on the record.
The Healer was recorded at Russian Hill Recording Studios in San Francisco and produced by guitarist Roy Rogers. He was a member of Hooker’s Coast to Coast Band and went on to oversee three more records by Hooker: the Grammy-nominated Mr. Lucky (1991), 1992’s Boom Boom, and Chill Out (1995).
Raitt joined her musical hero to remake and reimagine his 1951 hit “I’m in the Mood,” bringing home the Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Performance. Santana appeared, equally distinctively, on the opening title track, which became a global hit, while Cray represented the new generation of blues stars and began an ongoing working relationship with Hooker on the funky “Baby Lee.”
“Cuttin’ Out” reunited Hooker with blues-rock favourites Canned Heat, with whom he recorded the acclaimed 1971 LP Hooker ’N Heat. Another blues-rock staple, George Thorogood, guested on “Sally Mae” (originally the B-side to “Boogie Chillen’”), and storied harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite accompanied his longtime friend on “That’s Alright.” The guest list was completed by East Los Angeles’ very own Los Lobos on the zydeco-flavored “Think Twice Before You Go.”
Hooker appeared solo on three tracks for The Healer, the stripped-down “Rockin’ Chair,” the wistful ballad “My Dream,” and the final number, “No Substitute.” The album went on to sell more than a million copies worldwide.
Pre-order The Healer on 180 gram vinyl or CD.
Here’s the full track list of The Healer:
“The Healer” — with Carlos Santana & The Santana Band
“I’m in the Mood” — with Bonnie Raitt
“Baby Lee” — with Robert Cray
“Cuttin’ Out” — with Canned Heat
“Think Twice Before You Go” — with Los Lobos
“Sally Mae” — with George Thorogood
“That’s Alright” — with Charlie Musselwhite
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