Five Essential Boogie-Rock Albums
Boogie-rock has probably been derided by critics more times than people have torched a doob while listening to BTO. Intellectual types tend to write it off as guys with feathered bangs, mustaches and shirts open to their navel playing songs about cars, girls and partying (and partying in cars with girls), while overlooking the fact that, if done right, boogie-rock can be totally badass.
What else it is, is hard to say. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, "boogie" crept into American English around 1917 (though other estimates have it even earlier) as a word used to describe African-American rent parties. By the late '20s, it was a common term for the largely Texas-bred barrelhouse piano style popularized by Jelly Roll Morton, Pete Johnson and Dave Alexander, and translated to guitar by Blind Lemon Jefferson and Leadbelly.
From there, it was a short hop into R&B - where John Lee Hooker practically made boogie a proper noun - country and rock and roll. One of the prime boogie-rockers of the past 30 years, George Thorogood, stops by House of Blues tonight after a killer show last year. To mark the occasion, Rocks Off put our heads together and made a list of five albums no self-respecting feathered-bang burnout should ever be without. Chris Gray
5. Humble Pie, Performance Rockin' the Fillmore (1971): An often overlooked but essential live album from the classic lineup that included both Steve Marriott and Peter Frampton on vocals and guitars. Long, lengthy jams on "Stone Cold Fever," "Rollin' Stone" and - of course - "I Don't Need No Doctor" make this record great for groovin' or stuffing some choice smoke in a bowl. Bob Ruggiero
4. Cactus, One Way... or Another (1971): Though they never lived up to the hype of "America's Led Zeppelin," Cactus excelled at meat-and-potatoes boogie-rock with the wild vocal stylings of Rusty Day and the feet-movin' rhythm section of Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice (both ex-Vanilla Fudge). "Rock n' Roll Children," "Big Mama Boogie Pt. 1 & 2," and the incredible title track show that this short-lived "supergroup" should be better known. Thanks to a series of Rhino reissues, Cactus has enjoyed something of a renaissance and reappraisal. B.R.