Steve Hooker - Seven Veils (CD)
I've read the credits of the first song only after maybe a couple of dozens of run-throughs (seriously, this CD is on heavy rotation together with Emanuel Casablanca's new one, there's no room for a sheet of paper in between). First track coming up, I thought yes, I haven't heard Steve Hooker so Rock'n'Rollish in a long time. Small wonder, "The Promised Land" is a coverversion of a song by a certain Berry C. and with that the next remark, should one know this person? There's a small bell tolling somewhere in the distance.
It shouldn't really surprise anyone that Steve Hooker gets started with a Rock'n'Roller. The Rockabillyblues and Soulman, as he brands himself. Soul on the other hand is a bit of a surprise, I'm not the brightest candle in the room when it comes to that genre and I've been skating very thin ice only for about ten years now. That is not to say, I haven't had any Soul records in my collection previously. Stay with what I know! On this new CD (2024) you'll find nine tracks, two of them coverversions (the other is written originally by a certain Redding O) and one track is a "Smokin' Remix" which can be heard in its original version on this CD as well. Seven originals and two coverversions, this alone is remarkable, wouldn't it be Steve Hooker. Of course, he's doing a coverversion every now and then, all for your enjoyment, but I appreciate his work really even more for his own original efforts
Very interesting is also the fact that "Treasure Island" is an instrumental. There's usualyy a bit of a gap amongst a lot of artists in that department when it comes to artistical integrity. Mr. Hooker sails the waters beautifully and is totally in control and presents a rocker (which is more like the Boogie direction, if I'm not completely off the rocker). With this Redding O. thing ("Snatch A Little Piece"), one should think that Soul is the main ingredient. That's maybe so, but I hear the guitar like it usually never appears in Soul (not even talking about the rhythm section). At a shade under 28 minutes with those nine tracks, one chases the other. It's not Prog noodling, that's for sure. Somehow with "Sadie Brown", this song will pop up again later, Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoia come to mind and their "Heads Down No Nonsense Mindless Boogie", even though only because of the tile. But it is indeed a no nonsense mindless Boogie. Excellent!
No need to dissect every track on this CD (Pimphouse CD5), here's the short version: If Boogie and down to earth Rock with strong ties to Blues and Rock'n'Roll is your cup of tea, you've come to the right address. Since your sleepy head of a record dealer doesn't have the CD in his racks anyway, make a direct order on Steve Hooker's website at Stripped Down Stompin' Band (stevehooker.co.uk) and pay through Paypal. You won't break the bank and your collection will start to look very tempting to your friends and colleagues. Regarding the website, have a look around, the man is on the road for decades now and has made a few claims for greater notoriety, but in my book has missed the spotlight always by a fraction only. Not because of his fault, I add, rather because of the niche he's ploughing with his music. There are no riches for the dedicated. And he's done so on a constantly high level. Support the artist!
The Band (Stripped Down Stompin' Band):
Steve - Guitar, Bottleneck, Handclaps, Vox
Vic - Fender Bass
Brian - Drums
Stingray Davies - Bells, Hammond
Dee - BVs (Backing Vocals)