Blues classic from a living classic
August 25, 2011 7:29 PM   Subscribe

John Hammond Jr. has been keeping classic blues alive through nearly 5 decades of expressive performing and recording. He was named to the Blues Hall of Fame this year - here's a sampling why: Walking Blues performed in Paris, 2004; Come Into My Kitchen performed at at Fur Peace Ranch, 2009. posted by madamjujujive (11 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I didn't know that you could harvest the DNA of classic blues from amber. Huh, you learn something new every day!
posted by phunniemee at 7:32 PM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hammond alone, in my opinion, has improved on a Tom Waits song. 2:19, off his Wicked Grin album. There's another few on there come close.
posted by cromagnon at 7:38 PM on August 25, 2011

Hammond alone, in my opinion, has improved on a Tom Waits song. 2:19, off his Wicked Grin album. There's another few on there come close.

This is strictly personal taste on my part: When Wicked Grin came out (the album that 2:19 is on) I really enjoyed it, played it a lot, grooved on it etc. Over the years though my passion for the album has diminished substantially. I was putting together a radio show the other week and gave the album a quick listen as I was doing a bunch of covers and found it had fallen to merely fair to good rather then the very good I had originally held it as.

As far as Waits covers go, yeah the album is full of them that are better then the overwhelming majority I have heard (with the exception of a Russian band called Billy's Band, and a few singles from others here and there).

Having said all of that Hammond definitely deserves and belongs in the Blues Hall of Fame, so good on him and congrats.
posted by edgeways at 8:05 PM on August 25, 2011

Funny how these things go with different people. I bought it and was really disappointed; I thought he had sanitised and somehow "virtuoso'd" the songs and had killed something in the process. But they just grew on me over time.
posted by cromagnon at 8:20 PM on August 25, 2011

My husband was the assistant engineer on Hammond's Long As I Have You, and considers working with him to be one of the highlights of his recording career. By his account, a class act, a nice guy, and an infectious scholar of the genre.
posted by padraigin at 8:49 PM on August 25, 2011

This on-air session at WLIR in 1972 with Bonnie Raitt, Lowell George (Little Feat) and John P Hammond is one of my favorite recordings. It's mostly for Bonnie and Lowell's "Can't Find My Way Home" (1:30, standalone mp3), but they bring John in to play harmonica in the next song "Big Road" (6:10) and then later they all do "Apolitical Blues" (16:19).

The rest of the session (also here) -- which I had never heard before I looked it up tonight -- features John Hammond: posted by pjenks at 10:27 PM on August 25, 2011 [3 favorites]

Here is his Wikipedia page. I didn't know he did the soundtrack for Little Big Man.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:58 AM on August 26, 2011

That is wonderful pjenks - that is a superb rendition of Can't Find My way Home - I love Bonnie.

You are such a good person for taking the time to share this, I am digging it!
posted by madamjujujive at 5:06 AM on August 26, 2011

I have been Bonnie Raitt's biggest fan for 40 years now. What makes Bonnie, and other performers like John Hammond and Taj Mahal great, is that they are real students of the blues. Besides having super talent, they have a real knowledge of and love for the music. Makes all the difference.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:19 AM on August 26, 2011

Benny Andajetz, I couldn't agree more - you have just named three of my favorite musicians and they are doing so much to keep the classics alive. I would add Rory Block to your list.

I do loves me some Taj - still some good info there, but the broken YT links are maddening - these music posts are sort of ephemeral.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:34 AM on August 26, 2011

These sound good. I saw him as a backup act around, I don't know, 1980, and he was almost unintelligible and his guitar work was off...perhaps he had some substance abuse issues. Whatever. He apparently got through it just fine.
posted by kozad at 8:54 AM on August 26, 2011

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