Nightly Song
Musings on Songs that Strike a Chord Tonight

Boom, Boom – John Lee Hooker

Boom, Boom

Written and recorded by John Lee Hooker. You can listen to the studio version here. You can find many live versions on the web. Some of the better ones include a recording from the Montreal Jazz Festival, a live BBC show from the mid 60’s and a quiet and intension solo performance from the 1960’s. You can buy a copy of the song here.

No throat clearing here, just the hard guitar beats and roughneck singing. “I’m gonna shoot you right down/Knock you off your feet/Take you home with me.” The way he sings could get John Lee arrested today. Add the primal guitar, the insistent beat, the pounding base and his desire overwhelms. “Boom, boom, boom.”  He’s undeniable.

I love to see you strut,
up and down the floor
When you talking to me,
that baby talk
I like it like that
Whoa, yeah!
Talk that talk, walk that walk

No moon and June spooning here. John Lee’s got this way – raw and hot – that doesn’t merely convey lust; it becomes lust itself. The fuzzy guitar grows raunchier, the singing more guttural. The last line of the second verse reduces his vision to its essence: “Talk that talk, walk that walk.” His guitar playing grows more avid as he moans, “hey, hey, hey.” John Lee’s a man lashed by desire and her every move crashes with ecstasy and agony.

Whisper in my ear,
tell me that you love me
I love that talk
When you talk like that,
you knocks me out,
right off of my feet
Hoo hoo hoo

John Lee Hooker sang this song into his 80’s and it never lost its power. The spare singing, the unembellished guitar, the unabated craving always came through.  Released in 1964 and covered by man, most notably the Animals, “Boom, Boom” remains vivid and vital.

John Lee recorded “Boom, Boom” in 1961 and released in April 1962 for Vee-Jay records.  The band included James Jamerson on bass, Larry Veeder on guitar, Benny Benjamin on drums, Ivy Jo Hunter on piano and Hank Crosby on tenor saxophone and Andrew Terry on baritone saxophone. The Animals had a hit with it in 1964. John Lee Hooker later recorded a version of the song entitled “Bang, Bang, Bang.”

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