From roughly 1969 to 1974, Detroit radio station WABX broadcasted Detroit Tubeworks, broadcasted a program which featured some of the country’s and area’s best musical acts. And although there’s limited existing footage, the program’s concept was the precusor to several programs and channels that music fans have watched at some point over the past 35-40 years including the German music program, Rockpalast, MTV, VH1, Last Call with Carson Daly, The Jimmy Lloyd Songwriter Showcase and countless others.
The Detroit Metro Times recently dug up some incredible footage of the legendary John Lee Hooker, one of the originators of the electric blues and the man known for bringing the Mississippi Delta blues sound up to Detroit, on Tubeworks. Reportedly shot in 1970, the almost 22 minutes of footage (split in two parts) is severely degraded but miraculously the sound quality has managed to survive the 45 years it took for it to be rediscovered. Backed by an incredible backing band that featured his son Robert, famed percussionist Muruga Booker and others, the footage captures one of the coolest and baddest bluesmen ever playing his bleak, desperate blues. It’s tough music for tough people and even tougher times, speaking to a general sense of isolation, confusion and despair of modern life.
I don’t think that my words will do this footage justice but what I will say is that it’s absolutely captivating and if you love the blues as much as I do, it’ll stop you in your tracks. It’s simply incredible.