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Talkin' Blues: The Guitar Work of Earl Hooker, Part 1

Talkin' Blues: The Guitar Work of Earl Hooker, Part 1

These videos are bonus content related to the December 2013 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.

For guitar players in the Fifties, Chicago was both heaven and hell. Legendary players performed in neighborhood dives every weekend for the price of a beer, but the competition was also cutthroat. To even be considered good, one had to be great; to be called the best, one had to be Earl Hooker.

Born in 1929, Hooker grew up in Chicago and started playing at age 10. Mainly self-taught, he learned quickly by emulating the styles of T-Bone Walker and electric slide pioneer Robert Nighthawk and became equally adept at both standard and slide techniques (he played slide in standard tuning so he could easily switch between them).

Hooker began performing professionally in his mid-teens, and within a few years he launched a prolific recording career backing other artists as well as recording under his own name. His eclectic musical tastes and quirky imagination were demonstrated by his early releases, which ranged from deep, Nighthawk-style slide blues (“Sweet Angel”) to guitar instrumentals featuring razor-sharp tone and phrasing (“Frog Hop,” “Guitar Mambo,” “The Hucklebuck”).



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