This long overdue recap of the bird-voiced Canned Heat co-founder / singer / guitarist / harpist / environmentalist Alan Wilson cherry picks his contributions to that band. Heat aficionados won’t find any rare or previously unreleased material here and the 20 selections spread out over two short discs could have been condensed onto a single. And why is there nothing from Heat’s legendary collaboration with John Lee Hooker that Wilson was instrumental in bringing about? Still, hearing these performances together shows just how talented the often underrated Wilson—nicknamed the Blind Owl for his poor eyesight—was as a sensitive blues singer and subtle rhythm guitarist. It gives his 1970 death (a suspected suicide) at age 27 even greater resonance for all the future music in him that went unheard. Those unfamiliar with his talents can use this as a near perfect career primer of a bluesman who tragically lived what he played.
– Hal Horowitz