Rollin’ and Tumblin’ – Canned Heat

THIS DAY IN MUSIC………………………………………..on the week of June 16th of 1967 over 200,000 people attended the first Monterey Pop Festival. Many of the leading Rock acts of the time appeared, including Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Simon and Garfunkel, Canned Heat, The Mamas and The Papas, The Grateful Dead, Eric Burdon and The Animals, The Association, Booker T. and The MGs, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds, David Crosby and Steve Miller. John Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas would later write, “San Francisco” (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) about the festival, which became a big hit for Scott McKenzie later in the year.  From the Monterey Festival comes Canned Heat with “Rollin’ and Tumblin'”a blues song first recorded by American singer/guitarist Hambone Willie Newbern in 1929. Called a “great Delta blues classic”, it has been interpreted by hundreds of Delta and Chicago blues artists, including well-known recordings by Muddy Waters. Canned Heat recorded this for their debut self titled album that was released shortly after their appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival, and features performances of several blues covers. Canned Heat was formed in Los Angeles in 1965. The group has been noted for its interpretations of blues material and for its efforts to promote interest in this type of music and its original artists. It was launched by two blues enthusiasts, Alan Wilson and Bob Hite, who took the name from Tommy Johnson’s 1928 “Canned Heat Blues”, a song about an alcoholic who had desperately turned to drinking Sterno, generically called “canned heat” (from the original 1914 product name Sterno Canned Heat). After appearances at the Monterey and Woodstock festivals at the end of the 1960s, the band acquired worldwide fame with a lineup consisting of Bob Hite (vocals), Alan Wilson (guitar, harmonica and vocals), Henry Vestine and later Harvey Mandel (lead guitar), Larry Taylor (bass), and Adolfo de la Parra (drums). Two of their songs – “Going Up the Country” and “On the Road Again” – became international hits. “Going Up the Country” was a remake of the Henry Thomas song “Bull Doze Blues”, recorded in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1927. “On the Road Again” was a cover version of the 1953 Floyd Jones song of the same name, which is reportedly based on the Tommy Johnson song “Big Road Blues”, recorded in 1928.