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Steve Hooker: Duende Blues

Rattling, home-grown rock and blues.

Tempered by some 40 years of playing punk, rhythm and blues, rockabilly and plain old rock’n’roll, guitarist and singer Steve Hooker has the assured swagger of a man who’s put miles on the clock and a few lines on his face in the incessant pursuit of the next gig.

This album – with suspect artwork that might make the 70s incarnation of The Scorpions blanch – is a foot-to-the-floor, live-in-the-studio-sounding affair that’s all bottleneck guitar, wailing harmonica and Hooker’s road-tested rasp, best illustrated in songs like Devil Took That Woman (And My Watch And Chain) (’Dust my broom, bury that blade/Dig her grave with a silver spade’) and the thrumming opening track, Oil And Water.

He might have once made his name backing up players like Wilko Johnson and Boz Boorer, but Duende Blues is the work of a man standing firmly on his own two feet.

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion. He ghosted Carl Barat’s acclaimed autobiography, Threepenny Memoir, and helped launch the BBC 6 Music network as producer and co-presenter on the Phill Jupitus Breakfast Show. Five years later he and Jupitus fronted the hugely popular Perfect 10 podcast and live shows. His debut novel, Cross Country Murder Song, was described, variously, as ‘sophisticated and compelling’ and ‘like a worm inside my brain’. His latest novel The Death And Life Of Red Henley is out now.