by Hammond, John
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Real Gone Music
The cleverly-conceived cover shot tips you off to the fact that this 1967 record—comprised of outtakes from sessions for his John Hammond, Big City Blues, So Many Roads, and Country Blues albums—displays two different sides of the great white bluesman John Hammond, one electric, one acoustic. The electric side features a backing band for the ages, consisting of Band members Levon Helm and Robbie Robertson plus Mike Bloomfield (on piano!) and Charley Musselwhite, while the acoustic side is just Hammond on guitar. There is little doubt that members of blues-rock bands both current and future listened carefully to this record; “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” (Grateful Dead), “Statesboro Blues” (Allman Brothers), and “Keys to the Highway” (Derek & the Dominos) all appear here, and indeed Hammond was friends with Eric Clapton and Duane Allman as well as with the members of The Band that play on the album. More importantly, however, Hammond lays a convincing claim to being one of his generation’s greatest bluesmen, especially with his takes on the Robert Johnson tunes “Travelling Riverside,” “Stones in My Passway,” and “Walking Blues.” This is the only Hammond album recorded for Vanguard in the ‘60s yet to be released on CD, and our Real Gone reissue includes notes by Richie Unterberger with exclusive quotes from John Hammond himself. A long-lost classic!
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