Canned Heat rose to fame because their knowledge and love of blues music was both wide and deep. Emerging in 1966, Canned Heat was founded by blues historians and record collectors Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and Bob “The Bear” Hite. Hite took the name “Canned Heat” from a 1928 recording by Tommy Johnson. They were joined by Henry “The Sunflower” Vestine, another ardent record collector who was a former member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention. Rounding out the band in 1967 were Larry “The Mole” Taylor on bass, an experienced session musician who had played with Jerry Lee Lewis and The Monkees and Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra on drums who had played in two of the biggest Latin American bands, Los Sinners and Los Hooligans.
Canned Heat's 1978 release, Human Condition, was an important one in the band's overall discography, as it was the last studio effort to feature original singer Bob Hite fronting the band (Hite would pass away in 1981). In 2006, the album was expanded with a pair of live tracks from 1985 and retitled Human Condition Revisited, and was packaged as a double disc that also featured the overlooked 1981 solo effort by Canned Heat guitarist Henry Vestine, I Used to Be Mad! (But Now I'm Half Crazy).
Canned Heat's second long-player, Boogie with Canned Heat (1968), pretty well sums up the bona fide blend of amplified late-'60s electric rhythm and blues, with an expressed emphasis on loose and limber boogie-woogie. The quintet – consisting of Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson (guitar/harmonica/vocals), Larry "The Mole" Taylor (bass), Henry "Sunflower" Vestine (guitar), Aldolfo "Fido" Dela Parra (drums), and Bob "The Bear" Hite (vocals) – follow up their debut effort with another batch of authentic interpretations, augmented by their own exceptional instrumentation. One development is their incorporation of strong original compositions. "On the Road Again" – which became the combo's first, and arguably, most significant hit – as well as the Albert King inspired anti-speed anthem, "Amphetamine Annie," were not only programmed on the then-burgeoning underground FM radio waves, but also on the more adventuresome AM Top 40 stations. Their love of authentic R&B informs "World in a Jug," the dark "Turpentine Blues," and Hite's update of Tommy McClennan's "Whiskey Headed Woman".