James Hooker (musician)

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James Hooker
Birth nameJames Hugh Brown Jr.
Born (1948-07-20) July 20, 1948 (age 75)
Winnsboro, South Carolina, United States
Occupation(s)Composer, Musician
Years active1964–present

James Hooker (born July 20, 1948) is an American keyboard player, singer/songwriter and composer.


Early years[edit]

Hooker grew up in South Carolina. He began performing in nightclubs during his 9th grade school year. Leaving school before entering his senior year, he moved to Charleston, South Carolina to work in the house band "The Magnificent Seven", at The Merchant Seamans Club on East Bay Street.[1]

Session work[edit]

In 1968, Hooker became a member of the Hi Rhythm Section for HI Records at Royal Studios in South Memphis. While working with Eddie Floyd in early 1970, Hooker met and recorded with Jimi Hendrix (before Hooker changed his name from James Brown).[1]

Hooker moved to Muscle Shoals, Alabama in 1971, where he worked for Rick Hall as a member of the FAME Gang at FAME Studios.[2][3] This was also when he began writing songs.[1]

The Amazing Rhythm Aces[edit]

Hooker returned to Memphis in late 1972.[4] While working on staff at Sam Phillips recording studios, Hooker was asked to be a founding member of The Amazing Rhythm Aces.[1] He was an active member of the band from 1975 to the early 1980s, and remains an inactive member today, but participated in reunion recordings and shows in the 1990s.[5]

Steve Winwood[edit]

Hooker was Steve Winwood's keyboard player, including the "Back in the High Life" tour. "Freedom Overspill" (written by Hooker, Winwood, and George Fleming) was on Winwood's Back in the High Life album and on the soundtrack to the film Big Shots.[6]

Hooker performed as part of the ARMS concert with Winwood at The Royal Albert Hall, as well as the ARMS American tour with Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Joe Cocker, Charlie Watts, and Bill Wyman.[7][8]

Nanci Griffith[edit]

Hooker was Nanci Griffith's band leader for 20 years.[9][10] They composed and recorded songs such as "Gulf Coast Highway" and "Hometown Streets."[11][12][13]


In 1976, Hooker won a Grammy award for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group as part of the Amazing Rhythm Aces, for the song "The End Is Not In Sight (The Cowboy Tune)."[14]

Personal life[edit]

In 2007, Hooker retired from touring and moved to Ireland and then to Mallorca, Spain. He lives in Ireland and Spain with his wife Jessica, where he records songs and instrumentals for visual media.


Solo albums[edit]

  • 2009: Slow Boat To Memphis
  • 2010: Hanging Out with the Boys
  • 2010: Maggie´s Drawers
  • 2013: Sex On the Beach

As a member of the Amazing Rhythm Aces[edit]

With Nanci Griffith[edit]

As composer[edit]

  • 1986: Steve Winwood - Back in the High Life (Island) - track 3, "Freedom Overspill" (co-written with Steve Winwood and George Fleming)
  • 1992: The Chieftains - An Irish Evening (RCA Victor) - track 4, "Little Love Affairs" (co-written with Nanci Griffith)
  • 1992: Evangeline - Evangeline (Margaritaville) - track 7, "Gulf Coast Highway" (co-written with Nanci Griffith and Danny Flowers)
  • 1995: 4 Runner - 4 Runner (Polygram) - track 10, "Southern Wind" (co-written with Walt Aldridge)
  • 1996: Kathleen Deighton - Intuition (FatCat) - track 12, "Gulf Coast Highway"
  • 2000: Danny Flowers - Forbidden Fruits and Vegetables (GrooveTone) - track 7, )"Gulf Coast Highway"
  • 2003: Tom Russell - Modern Art (Hightone / Shout!) - track 13, "Gulf Coast Highway"

Also appears on[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "James Hooker Biography". Airplay Direct. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  2. ^ Artimisi, Tony (2015). Rhythm Makers: The Drumming Legends of Nashville in Their Own Words (1 ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442240117. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  3. ^ "Studio Rhythm Sections". FAME. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  4. ^ Crane, Larry (January 1, 2010). Tape Op: The Book about Creative Music Recording, Volume 2 (1 ed.). Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9780977990306. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (1 ed.). ISBN 9780195313734. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  6. ^ "Big Shots Soundtrack". IMDB. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  7. ^ Loder, Kurt (January 19, 1984). "Rock of Ages: Ronnie Lane Benefit Show Brings Out Clapton, Beck, Page, Stones". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  8. ^ Schumacher, Michael (2003). Crossroads: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton (1 ed.). Citadel Press. ISBN 9780806524665. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  9. ^ Johns, Glyn (2014). Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with the Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Eric Clapton, the Faces... (1 ed.). Blue Rider Press. ISBN 9780399163876. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  10. ^ Greenstreet, Rosanna (March 30, 1997). "Nanci Griffith". The Guardian. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  11. ^ ""Gulf Coast Highway" by Nanci Griffith and James Hooker". Austin Songwriter. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  12. ^ Woodstra, Chris (2008). Contemporary Country (1 ed.). Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9780879309183. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  13. ^ Mayshark, Jesse Fox (April 30, 2002). "Nanci Griffith - Tennessee Theatre (Knoxville, TN)". No Depression. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  14. ^ "Grammy Awards History for James Hooker". The Recording Academy. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  15. ^ Lopate, Mitchell (2012). Rock 'n' Blues Stew II (1 ed.). Lulu.com. ISBN 9780557697007. Retrieved July 8, 2017.

James Hooker biography

External links[edit]