Album review: John Hammond, John Hammond Live (1984)


By Steve Newton

If you happened to see John Hammond’s recent Vancouver appearance, this LP–recorded live at McCabe’s Concert Hall in Santa Monica, California last year–should prove a worthy remembrance of that night.

Performing solely on acoustic guitar, and with his own harmonica accompaniment, Hammond gets to the root of the blues on tunes by Muddy Waters (“I Can’t Be Satisfied”), Blind Lemon Jefferson (“One Kind Favor”), Willie Dixon (“Shake For Me”), Big Bill Broonzy (“Texas Tornado”), Billy Boy Arnold (“I Wish You Would”), and probably his greatest influence, Robert Johnson (“Dust My Broom”).

Other tunes by Hank Snow, Charlie Patton, Fuller Allen, and Sleepy John Estes round out this third Hammond album on Rounder Records, his others being Mileage and Frogs for Snakes.

Hammond sings the blues honestly–neither sprucing it up or watering it down. He’s one of the few who still sings the classics the way they were written, and takes you right back to the fields and alleys, trainyards and highways where the blues were born.





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