Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Natural Born Soul Sender

The version of "Gloria" from Van Morrison's 1993 release "Too Long In Exile" is far and away my favorite.

I'll give you two reasons.

The first is John Lee Hooker and his vocal performance, which is not of this Earth.

 "She's a sender. She's a killer. Natural born soul sender. Midnight. Mid-nii-YI-yight." 

John Lee Hooker, possessed by that she-devil named Gloria.

The other reason?

This story, which was told to me around the time of the LP's release by someone who had worked on the record.

Hooker's age might have played a part in this, or maybe it was John Lee falling under his own spell, but "Gloria," a song that had been played countless times by countless bands, was giving John Lee a bit of the asshole. He and Van tried relentlessly to lay down an acceptable take. Each take grooved along splendidly, until the moment Van would vamp the query, "What's her name?" John Lee would respond, "BESSIE MAE!"

One last fave thing about this tune: John Lee spelling out her name. It's different every time.

"G-R-R-I A."


This version rocks in so many ways.


kevin m said...

Yes,this version is the BEST ever. First heard it about 12 years ago when I was living in SF. I was driving my ex-wife and ex-mother in law around town and they were fight about something. This song came on the radio and it sucked me in. As the song began to build, I turned up the radio to drown out the argument.

Two hours later, I was at Amoeba Records (Sal, you would love that place) buying the CD.



Anonymous said...

Sal, thanks for the reminder of this great track-- it is indeed glorious. This is from same LP that Van & JLH did another great track together, an original, wasn't it?

Anonymous said...

PS-- There was also this great duet on JLH's album a couple of yrs earlier.

Ken D said...


Chris Collins said...

Totally agree! I had this on TAPE!

E said...

thumbs up!

A walk in the woods said...

Ha - this is great. I love that song, and I LOVE Van, and I love John Lee, but there's not much interest left for me in the original song itself. But this version - yeah man, this version is the real deal.

Good ol' John Lee - mumblin' and all, he WAS the blues.