You may not think you know Canned Heat's music, but if you don't TiVo through commercials, you most certainly do. "On the Road Again," "Going Up the Country" and "Let's Work Together" have been used to shill for everyone from Miller and Pepsi to Chevy and Target in recent years. Formed in 1966 by blues historians/record collectors Bob "the Bear" Hite (growly vocals, harp) and Al "Blind Owl" Wilson (falsetto-ish vocals, guitar), the band seemed poised for huge things after playing both Woodstock and the Monterey Pop Festival. But their laid-back, bucolic brand of boogie blues fell out of fashion when the harder-edged boogie rock of bands like Grand Funk, Humble Pie and Cactus became more in vogue. Along the way, the band helped to rediscover bluesmen like John Lee Hooker, Skip James, Son House and Albert Collins by touring and recording with them. thus promoting them to new hippie audiences. There's not much left of the original lineup: Wilson died of a drug overdose and/or suicide in 1970, and Hite suffered a fatal heart attack at a club just before a gig in 1981, but the band has soldiered on in one incarnation or another, with drummer Adolfo "Fito" de la Parra the only classic member in the current lineup of seasoned players. Their recent release Canned Heat Then & Now: 40 Years of Boogie is a dual-disc offering the greatest hits of the band's heyday lineup as well as recordings of more recent vintage.
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