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Rock and Roll Saturday – Canned Heat

March 19, 2011

GOING UP THE COUNTRY
I’m going up the country, baby don’t you wanna go
I’m going up the country, baby don’t you wanna go
I’m going to some place where I’ve never been before
I’m going, I’m going where the water tastes like wine
Well I’m going where the water tastes like wine
We can jump in the water, stay drunk all the time

Canned Heat was a Los Angeles based Rock & Roll/Boogie & Blues band when they formed in 1966. When you’re young in LA, growing up in the sixties and loving the blues, what better way to say it than to start your own band. Two friends, Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and Bob “The Bear” Hite, founded the group and took their name from a 1928 Tommy Johnson blues recording titled, “Canned Heat Blues.”

The initial lineup included Bob Hite providing the raspy vocals, Alan Wilson on guitar/harmonica/vocals, Harvey “The Snake” Mandel on lead guitar, Larry “The Mole” Taylor thumping the bass, and Adolpho “Fito” de la Parra rounding out the sound on drums.

Their singles “Going Up the Country” and “On the Road Again” became anthems for the Hippie culture and after appearances at Monterey and Woodstock became one of the top draws of the generation.

The Best of Canned Heat - 1972

The seventies roared in with great difficulties for Canned Heat. After returning from a tour of Germany in 1970, Larry Taylor and Harvey Mandel both left the band for other ventures. On September 3rd of the same year, Alan Wilson died of a drug overdose, and was found on a hillside behind Bob Hite’s California home.

The Heat suffered tragedy by the boatload in later years. In 1981, founding member Bob Hite, died of a heroin overdose at de la Parra’s Mar Vista home at the age of 38. Many thought Hite’s death would drive the last nail in the Heat’s coffin, but Fito de la Parra kept the band going and through numerous personnel changes lead the band into the nineties with moderate success.

Early newcomer and Harvey Mandel replacement, Henry Vestine, played many years with the revitalized group, but on October 20, 1997, following the final gig of a European tour, a tired and cancer stricken Vestine died in Paris, France.

The current day lineup of Canned Heat includes Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra, Larry “The Mole” Taylor, and Harvey “The Snake” Mandel”

Their 1972 hit single, “Going Up the Country” went on the be the opening music for the documentary movie “Woodstock.” Although it opens with Bob Hite’s dialog introducing the song, the movie immediately cuts to the studio version.

Sources: Canned Heat wiki, Canned Heat Official Website

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2 Comments
  1. August 3, 2011 2:57 pm

    I just added your web page to my bookmarks. I enjoy reading your posts. Thank you!
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  2. August 17, 2011 5:39 am

    Thanks for remembering Canned Heat! I recommend fans check out the family-operated website established to honor lead singer Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson. It’s at http://AlanWilsonCannedHeat.com and includes rare videos, photos, memorabilia and links. It also carries out his vision of a non-profit fund to help preserve the coast redwoods of California. Don’t forget to boogie!

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