3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2001
The two-disc "Alone" somehow manages to be folksy, menacing, spare and anarchic at the same time. Recorded live at New York's Hunter College in 1976, "Alone" is one of Hooker's last real solo statements. It works. You may have noticed the above review by the Grove Press Guide to the Blues savages this album. That's ridiculous, but does make a couple good points. "Alone" is not for everyone. Those with very short attention spans beware. Hooker is in live, solo, folk mode, often hushed and unhurried, and there are many, many silences on this album between the vocals and the occasional guitar bursts. Folkish, yes, but, as I said, there is menace afoot here. "Dark Room", "Jesse James" and "Never Get Out of These Blues Alive" from the first disc and most of the second disc are slow, moody, haunting blues. Great stuff. CD #1, called "The First Show" is better and has more life to it. CD #2 seems to be in front of an even smaller crowd and a mysterious harmonica makes a late and ghostly (and not very competent) appearance on the last three tracks. One note: the previous reviews make it sound as though Hooker is not playing electric guitar; he is, and it sounds awesome. In fact, the sound is very good for a 1976 live recording, much better than the full-band "The Cream" released on Tomato shortly after this one. (It's a better album overall, too). "Alone" also is available on two separate discs on Blues Alliance, I believe, but get this.
on April 14, 2013
John Lee Hooker had a unique groove, and he was always his own best rhythm section. This collection contains both the first and second concerts, and is an absolutely essential Hooker recording. It's slower and mellower than his Modern and Chess recordings, but Hooker is still at full power, unlike on his later star-studded recordings. Alone with his guitar, he can boogie better than all his rock imitators put together, Marshall stacks or no. The sole flaw on this album is the staggeringly arrogant harmonica player in the audience who apparently felt Hooker was in need of some accompaniment on the last three tracks. One wonders why the people sitting around him or her didn't grab the damn thing and stomp on it.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 1998
John Lee Hooker has been bringing us his own style of delta blues for over forty years. He has revolutionized two types of blues: emotional 'blues from the heart," and fast paced electric boggies. Alone features the master signing from his heart. The lack of a band, or the lack electric boggie blues does not lesson the impact of this album. The listener experiences the heart-felt emotion of the singer on each song. Hooker has a special interplay with his small audience, even praising a fan who accompanies him on blues harp on one track. I highly recommend this double disk to all fans of John Lee Hooker!