I have a very special place in my heart for Canned Heat. For a variety of reasons. But principally they played the blues the way it should be played, without shortcuts.
Really the second hard rock concert I had ever attended, after a shrieking psychedelic band at Hemisphere 66 in San Antonio that I was way too young to deal with.
I was twelve years old. My older sister Liz, who reads this blog, took me.
I remember being in the dark hall and I might as well have been on the moon.
In the crowd were characters in capes, with long staffs and pipes, it was like a strange druid gathering and I was totally mind blown.
As you might expect from a punk kid new to all this. Tear down the walls, indeed. Obviously I had never seen or experienced anything like that before. And the music! Driving, hypnotic, I experienced the boogie as only Canned Heat could ever deliver it. The incredible lead and harp player, Al Wilson was destined to pass away a mere three months later.
Later on I became friends with members Bob "the Bear" Hite and Larry Taylor. I bought Kaleidoscope posters from Bob at the monthly Capitol Records Swap Meet in Hollywood.
He was a great guy.
Larry was good friends with my old friend and mentor, the late Jose Kent, who later became Rick Griffin's agent.
Another amazing man and a person who did not get enough credit for their incredible bass playing.
Rick and I caught him at a John Mayall, Jack Bruce show once at the Belly Up.
Now everybody is gone. Glad I saw them live when I had the chance. There will never be another.