Like the great bluesmen he learned from, John Hammond gets better and deeper with age.
Like the great bluesmen he learned from, John Hammond gets better and deeper with age. On this slap-happy trio affair with Marty Mallou (bass) and Stephen Hodges (drums), Hammond's crisp guitar playing, guttural singing and wily harmonica loops shine. Opening track "Jitterbug Swing," adapted from Bukka White, is the oldest and liveliest cut on this diverse collection. "It Serves Me Right to Suffer" and "Moanin' for My Baby" show that the closer Hammond hews to rural rooted urban blues, the more natural he sounds. Having written his first song for his previous album, after 40 years strictly as an interpreter, he tries two originals this time. Both are successful, particularly the conflicted "Come to Find It." Bob Dylan's "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" seems out of context in this traditional outing, and the two Ray Charles songs, though heartfully played, make one want to call a moratorium on tributes to the late great one.—WR