There were plenty of white-boy blues singers in the late '60s and early '70s, and Bob "Catfish" Hodge was one of them. A native of Detroit, he later left the Motor City and gained some success as a children's singer, but the music on Ace's 2014 double-disc collection Different Strokes: The Complete Eastbound & Westbound Recordings
is cut from a different cloth: it's lively, sometimes lewd boogie and funky blues; music from a hippie getting down and dirty. Hodge cut two albums for Eastbound and one for Westbound and they're both here, along with three previously unheard outtakes and a non-LP B-side. The first two, Boogie Man I Gonna Get Ya
and Dynasaurs & Alleycats
, were recorded in Detroit and are cut from the same cloth, presenting wide-open, slightly loose jams on classic blues songs and plenty of originals from Hodges. These are funkier and wilder than expected, undone slightly by a little bit of jive talk in the lyrics and the singing. The third album, Soap Opera's
, was cut in the Los Angeles and it shows its West Coast origins in its slickness -- a patina of mellowness (witness the mellow acoustic revision of the Stones
' "It's All Over Now") colored with fuzz guitars and studio professionals. From the exuberant Detroit jams to the sun-bleached blues, all of this music is very, very much of its time; it's the twilight of the hippie blues, swept up in the changes of the '70s even when its heart is in the '60s.