Picks and Pans Review: Don't Look Back
He's just a few months shy of 80, but there's nothing retiring about John Lee Hooker. The beyond-veteran bluesman opens this album with a clamorous version of his 1956 hit "Dimples," with guest artists Los Lobos careening through boogieland and Hooker growling, "I got my eye on you, baby," in a particularly hair-raising way.
The remaining 10 tracks never approach that initial raucous outburst, but they offer other pleasures: Van Morrison (who produced the album) and Hooker trading vocals on four songs as well as Hooker working with an ace backup unit on "Blues Before Sunrise," sounding like a roadhouse band playing long after last call just for the joy of it. Occasionally the music on Don't Look Back sounds a bit thin, and studio effects strain to beef up Hooker's sometimes rickety voice, but where else are you going to find a septuagenarian nimbly tearing through Jimi Hendrix's "Red House"? (Point-blank)