Italian Zucchero's homage to John Lee Hooker is an intoxicating, delicious collection of music that begs to be listened to, digested, and listened to again and again.

Italian Zucchero's homage to John Lee Hooker is an intoxicating, delicious collection of music that begs to be listened to, digested, and listened to again and again. Rather than simply cover the blues, Zucchero has created his own brand, kicking off with the trilingual (Spanish, English, Italian) "Baila Morena," a swinging track densely populated with crunching electric guitars, thick piano and organ vamps, and soaring bluesy female vocals over Zucchero's trademark rasp. The multi-layered blend of acoustic and electric and the interplay of various vocal ranges and languages set the tone for a stunning album with unfailingly excellent material, even when it veers into slightly different territory, including "Hasta El Fondo," anchored by vibrating Mellotron, or more traditional Italian pop like "No Sere Yo." Hooker lends his vocals—alternating with Zucchero's own Italian vocals—to "Ali D'Oro," and it's a wonderful endorsement to have. But this album flies unaided.—LC