I Need Some Money: John Lee Hooker estate, pursued by IRS, licenses catalogue

This scoop from Billboard today just about breaks our heart:

“John Lee Hooker could not read or write, according to his daughter, but the legendary Delta bluesman’s estate is hoping to educate a new legion of fans about his 50-year musical legacy. The Hooker estate, which is controlled by daughter Zakiya Hooker, has licensed five of his best-selling albums from the ’80s and ’90s to reissue specialist Shout Factory for release in North America and two discs for release in Europe. The six-figure deal is for seven years.”

John Lee Hooker.jpg

To even see JLH’s name in print about pains me. Back in the mid 90s, when I’d just gotten back from China and was working as a house slave for Charlie Rose, I tried to book Hooker on the show. It turned out, John Lee hated to fly, and wasn’t gonna come to New York; Charlie wasn’t about to fly to Detroit. Not making that segment happen remains my most unhappy career moment to date. Of course, Charlie would go to DC to tape a whole special on Johannes Vermeer, but… That I didn’t push Charlie to go to Detroit, now that that John Lee is lamentably gone forever, simply kills me.

Well, anyway. There is some good news in the Billboard piece: “Out by year’s end will be an 84-track, four-disc boxed set, the first ever for Hooker. Shout Factory chief operating officer Bob Emmer expects half the material on the $59.98 set to come from its newly acquired albums, while the other half will be licensed from current rights holders, including EMI, Fantasy and Vee-Jay.”

I am preordering that monster right now.