Multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter from Naples, Texas, who was reared in San Diego, California, and was making records by the time he was in his early twenties.
In 1959, he and his band, The Strangers, scored an instrumental hit with “Caterpillar Crawl”. He struck out on his own in 1960, releasing his first solo recording on the Trans American label. In 1962, he and Jim Lee co-founded their own label, Monogram, which was created as a vehicle for up-and-coming artist, Chris Montez.
He had several bands at this time, including The Joel Scott Hill Band, The Joel Scott Hill Three, The Joel Scott Hill Trio, and Joel Scott Hill & the Invaders, who released “Look Out”, backed with “Sticks and Stones”, in 1964. They were regulars at The Action and made appearances at other clubs throughout California.
In 1970, Joel played guitar on Jesse Ed Davis’s self-titled album, Jesse Davis!. He teamed up with Johnny Barbata and Chris Ethridge on 1971’s L.A. Getaway. It was around this time he joined Canned Heat, replacing Alan Wilson. During his tenure with them, he appeared on Historical Figures & Ancient Heads, Hooker n Heat, Memphis Heat, and The New Age. Some of their live recordings were preserved on the boxed set, Under the Dutch Skies 1970-74.
He became a member of The Compche Firehouse Benefit Blues Band, which morphed into The Docker Hill Boys, which morphed into a new version of The Flying Burrito Brothers. With them, he appeared on Airborne, Flying Again, and Live from Tokyo, and was replaced by Greg Harris in 1979.
There are plenty of opportunities to hear him on anthologies, live albums, and re-packagings, such as Canned Heat 1969-1999: The Boogie House Tapes (Vols. 2-3), Just Around the Bend… Again, and Rare West Coast Surf Instrumentals.
Here he is performing “Big City” from his album with Chris Etheridge L.A. Gateway…