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John Lee Hooker Jr.

Saturday, September 3, at the Kansas City Music Blues and Jazz Festival at the Woodlands.

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When John Lee Hooker passed away in 2001, the world lost more than a legendary, badass bluesman. It lost one of the last remaining musicians to hail directly from the Delta blues heritage of the Deep South -- a region responsible for most music heard today. Fortunately Hooker left behind more than his blues. His son, John Lee Hooker Jr. , has his own woes to tell. Emerging clean and sober from a 25-year haze of drugs, jail and family deaths, Junior is taking to the stage with his own spin on his papa's music, R&B with jazz and old-school blues. While eminently comfortable fronting a solid soul and boogie outfit, Hooker Jr. cuts an awkward figure when commenting on current events. His "Goin' Down to Baghdad Lookin' for Saddam Hussein" is a prime example -- the only blues song ever to express faith in the existence of WMDs. And he gets serious cheese points for producing a sober version of one of his dad's most famous songs: "One Coke, One Sprite and a Root Beer." What Hooker Jr. lacks in experience and skill he makes up for in enthusiasm and flashiness. And to his credit, he never claims he's trying to fill his father's shoes.

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