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John Hammond

John Hammond, Jr. is one of a handful of white blues musicians who was on the scene at the beginning of the first blues renaissance of the mid-'60s. That revival, brought on by renewed interest in folk music around the U.S., brought about career boosts for many of the great classic blues players, including Mississippi John Hurt, Rev. Gary Davis, and Skip James. Some critics have described Hammond as a white Robert Johnson, and Hammond does justice to classic blues by combining powerful guitar and harmonica playing with expressive vocals and a dignified stage presence. Within the first decade of his career as a performer, Hammond began crafting a niche for himself that is completely his own: the solo guitar man, harmonica slung in a rack around his neck, reinterpreting classic blues songs from the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. Yet, as several of his mid-'90s recordings for the Point Blank label demonstrate, he's also a capable bandleader who plays wonderful electric guitar. This guitar-playing and ensemble work can be heard on Found True Love and Got Love If You Want It, both for the Point Blank/Virgin label.

Born November 13, 1942, in New York City, the son of the famous Columbia Records talent scout John Hammond, Sr., what most people don't know is that Hammond didn't grow up with his father. His parents split when he was young, and he would see his father several times a year. He first began playing guitar while attending a private high school, and he was particularly fascinated with slide guitar technique. He saw his idol, Jimmy Reed, perform at New York's Apollo Theater, and he's never been the same since.

After attending Antioch College in Ohio on a scholarship for a year, he left to pursue a career as a blues musician. By 1962, with the folk revival starting to heat up, Hammond had attracted a following in the coffeehouse circuit, performing in the tradition of the classic country blues singers he loved so much. By the time he was just 20 years old, he had been interviewed for The New York Times before one of his East Coast festival performances, and he was a certified national act.

When Hammond was living in the Village in 1966, a young Jimi Hendrix came through town, looking for work. Hammond offered to put a band together for the guitarist, and got the group work at the Cafe Au Go Go. By that point, the coffeehouses were falling out of favor, and instead the bars and electric guitars were coming in with folk-rock. Hendrix was approached there by Chas Chandler, who took him to England to record. Hammond recalls telling the young Hendrix to take Chandler up on his offer. "The next time I saw him, about a year later, he was a big star in Europe," Hammond recalled in a 1990 interview. In the late '60s and early '70s, Hammond continued his work with electric blues ensembles, recording with people like Band guitarist Robbie Robertson (and other members of the Band when they were still known as Levon Helm & the Hawks), Duane Allman, Dr. John, harmonica wiz Charlie Musselwhite, Michael Bloomfield, and David Bromberg.

As with Dr. John and other blues musicians who've recorded more than two dozen albums, there are many great recordings that provide a good introduction to the man's body of work. His self-titled debut for the Vanguard label has now been reissued on compact disc by the company's new owners, The Welk Music Group, and other good recordings to check out (on vinyl and/or compact disc) include I Can Tell (recorded with Bill Wyman from the Rolling Stones), Southern Fried (1968), Source Point (1970, Columbia), and his string of early- and mid-'90s albums for Point Blank/Virgin Records, Got Love If You Want It, Trouble No More (both produced by J.J. Cale), and Found True Love.

He didn't know it when he was 20, and he may not realize it now, but Hammond deserves special commendation for keeping many of the classic blues songs alive. When fans see Hammond perform them, as Dr. John has observed many times with his music and the music of others, the fans often want to go back further, and find out who did the original versions of the songs Hammond now plays.

Although he's a multi-dimensional artist, one thing Hammond has never professed to be is a songwriter. In the early years of his career, it was more important to him that he bring the art form to a wider audience by performing classic -- in some cases forgotten -- songs. Now, more than 50 years later, Hammond continues to do this, touring all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe from his base in northern New Jersey. He continued to release albums into the new millennium with three discs on the Back Porch label, including Ready for Love in 2002, produced David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, In Your Arms Again in 2005, and Push Comes to Shove in 2007. Rough & Tough arrived in 2009, with a fine live solo set, Timeless, recorded in the spring of 2013, appearing in early 2014. Whether it's with a band or by himself, Hammond can do it all. Seeing him perform live, one gets the sense that some of the best is still to come from this energetic bluesman. ~ Richard Skelly, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Timeless

1. No One Can Forgive Me But My Baby

2. Heartache Blues

3. Going Away Baby

4. Further On Up The Road

5. Looking For Trouble

6. Tell Me Mama

7. Last Night

8. That Nasty Swing

9. Drop Down Mama

10. Hard Times

11. Jockey Full Of Bourbon

12. Tell Me

13. Junco Partner

14. The Sky Is Crying

15. No Money Down


Track List: Source Point

1. I Got Love If You Want It

2. Hoo-Doo Blues

3. Mellow Down Easy

4. Takin' Care Of Business

5. She Moves Me

6. Let's Go Home

7. Tell Me Mama

8. No Place To Go

9. My First Plea

10. Junco Partner

11. As The Years Go Passing By


Track List: Rough & Tough

1. My Mind Is Rambling

2. Still A Fool

3. Up The Line

4. My Time After Awhile

5. Got To Find My Baby

6. She's Tough

7. Chattanooga Choo Choo

8. Statesboro Blues

9. I Can Tell

10. Get Behind The Mule

11. No Place To Go

12. Slick Crown Vic

13. Come To Find Out

14. It Hurts Me Too

15. I Can't Be Satisfied


Track List: Source Point/I'm Satisfied


Track List: Rhino Hi-Five: John Hammond

1. I Can Tell (1967)

2. Shake For Me

3. Sooner Or Later

4. Nadine

5. Crosscut Saw


Track List: Solo

1. I Can't Be Satisfied (Live)

2. Drifting Blues (Live)

3. Trucking Little Baby

4. The Sky Is Crying (Live)

5. Look On Yonder Wall

6. Honest I Do

7. I Wish You Would (Live)

8. Hellhound Blues (Live)

9. Tell Me

10. Guitar King

11. Got My Mojo Working


Track List: At The Crossroads: The Blues Of Robert Johnson

1. 32-20 Blues

2. Milkcow's Calf Blues

3. Traveling Riverside Blues

4. Stones In My Passway

5. Crossroads Blues

6. Hellhound Blues (Hellhound On My Trail)

7. Me And The Devil Blues

8. Walking Blues

9. Come On In My Kitchen

10. Preaching Blues (Up Jumped The Devil) (1978 Version)

11. Sweet Home Chicago

12. When You Got A Good Friend

13. Judgement Day (If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day)

14. Rambling Blues


Track List: Best Of The Vanguard Years

1. 32-20 Blues

2. Statesborough Blues

3. Seventh Son

4. Drop Down Mama

5. Going Back To Florida

6. Ask Me Nice

7. Hellhound Blues

8. I'm Ready

9. I'm A Man

10. Keys To The Highway

11. No Money Down

12. I Live The Life I Love

13. Big Boss Man

14. So Many Roads, So Many Trains

15. Who Do You Love

16. I Want You To Love Me

17. You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover

18. O Yea!

19. Who's Been Talkin'

20. Pretty Thing

21. Last Night

22. I Wish You Would

23. Guitar King (Live)


Track List: Long As I Have You

1. Don't Start Me Talkin'

2. As Long As I Have You

3. I Feel So Sorry

4. Stranded

5. Lookin' For Trouble

6. I Got Lucky

7. Sad To Be Alone

8. Goin' Away Baby

9. So Many Roads, So Many Trains

10. I'm Gonna Find My Baby

11. Crying At Daylight

12. Everything's Gonna Be Alright

13. Untrue Blues

14. Tell Me Mama

15. Homeless Blues


Track List: The Best Of John Hammond

1. My Babe

2. I Wish You Would Come Back, Baby

3. Milk Cow Calf's Blues

4. No Money Down

5. They Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad)

6. Big Boss Man

7. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean

8. So Many Roads, So Many Trains

9. Louise, Louise Blues

10. 32-20 Blues

11. Baby, Please Don't Go

12. I'm A Man

13. Stones In My Passway

14. Get Right Church

15. Backdoor Man

16. Statesborough Blues

17. Traveling Riverside Blues

18. Drop Down Mama

19. Keys To The Highway

20. Barbecue Blues

21. Going Back To Florida

22. Who Do You Love


Track List: John Hammond

1. My Babe

2. Standing Around Crying

3. Riding In The Moonlight

4. Big 45

5. Seventh Sun

6. Red Hot Kisses

7. Help Me

8. It Hurts Me Too

9. Give Me A 32-20

10. You'll Miss Me

11. Mr. Luck

12. Hot Tamales

13. You Don't Love Me

14. Step It Up And Go

15. Fattening Frogs For Snakes

16. Gypsy Woman

17. My Baby Left Me

18. Louisiana Blues

19. Mellow Down Easy

20. Your Funeral And My Trial

21. Mellow Peaches

22. Gone So Long


Track List: John Hammond Live

1. I Wish You Would (Live)

2. Saddle My Pony (Live)

3. Cat Man Blues (Live)

4. Custard Pie (Live)

5. One Kind Favor (Live)

6. I Can't Be Satisfied (Live)

7. Dust My Broom (Live)

8. Low Down Dog (Live)

9. Little School Girl (Live)

10. Shake For Me (Live)

11. Drop Down Mama (Live)

12. Texas Tornado (Live)

13. Steady Rollin' Man (Live)

14. Ain't That Lovin' You Baby (Live)

15. Sail On (Live)

16. Wang Dang Doodle (Live)

17. Honeymoon Blues (Live)

18. I'm Movin' On (Live)


Track List: Frogs For Snakes

1. You Don't Love Me

2. Got To Find My Baby

3. Step It Up And Go

4. Fattening Frogs For Snakes

5. Gypsy Woman

6. Key To The Highway

7. My Baby Left Me

8. Louisiana Blues

9. Mellow Down Easy

10. Your Funeral And My Trial

11. Mellow Peaches

12. Gone So Long


Track List: So Many Roads

1. Down In The Bottom

2. Long Distance Call

3. Who Do You Love

4. I Want You To Love Me

5. Judgment Day

6. So Many Roads, So Many Trains

7. Rambling Blues

8. O Yea!

9. You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover

10. Gambling Blues

11. Baby Please Don't Go

12. Big Boss Man


Track List: Big City Blues

1. I'm Ready

2. My Starter Won't Start

3. Barbecue Blues

4. I'm A Man

5. Barrelhouse Woman Blues

6. Midnight Hour Blues

7. Back Door Man

8. I Live The Life I Love

9. No Money Down

10. My Babe

11. When You Got A Good Friend

12. Baby, Won't You Tell Me


Track List: Country Blues

1. Traveling Riverside Blues

2. Hitchhiking Woman

3. Statesborough Blues

4. Milk Cow's Calf Blues

5. Crawling Kingsnake

6. Bull Frog Blues

7. Drop Down Mama

8. Little Rain Falling

9. Seventh Son

10. Who Do You Love

11. 32-20 Blues

12. Goin' Down Slow


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bobonnit is an embarrassmen t to blues fans everywhere!
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A true credit to the blues.
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Robert sits on it is an example someone with no talent himself who just spends many days in the basement on the internets and calls people that do have talent boring. Bobonnit you are a very talented troll, either that or you have way too much free time.
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For years I have heard the critics mention the name of John Hammond and praise his talents. But the truth is he never got much airplay, even during the golden age of FM radio when artists like him should have. The reason ? He was boring.
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Love the guys style!!
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I Can Tell is an awesome record!
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John's ''the bomb''...-wh a t a great musician. -can play , blow, sing, and drum with his foot all at the same time -in tune. Looking forward to the NEXT time I spend with him, from 5 feet away !
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Play on
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Going to JHammond inJanuary, Berkeley, CA! Yikes!
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neilwilkinso n 7 4 7
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John. Is one of great. Blues men and one of. Nicest person. I have. ever. Met. In the business. Real people
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John Hammond has covered a couple Jimmy Reed songs, too. His vocal style doesn't quite have the same charm as Jimmy Reed, but his rockin' brand of blues music is still great!!
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Mind you, my previous commentary was made from the perspective of someone who is also a huge hard rock fan - so someone who is more of a strictly blues fan might not necessary agree with my assessment of the guitar solo.
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My main issue with Eric Clapton is that he's a racist twit who has no business performing the blues - and his style tends too closely towards the Kingesque soul-blues style, anyway. I mean, I appreciate Albert King for revolutioniz i n g the guitar solo (a staple in much of rock and metal) - but his style isn't my cup of tea.

John Hammond's stuff is generally very good, though - and I love his rendition of Sweet Home Chicago.
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haha oh yeah
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Tom (1054) thank you I thought I was the only one who felt that way about clapton. By the way my name is also Tom.....Clap t o n is like cheesy a Wal-Mart ......over stocked with junk from an exploited work force flooding the market. .... driving small local folks into bankruptcy. Clapton is no. More than a brand......& he's branding the public with Clapton 101 .....just add water and micro wave 4 a minute .......junk clapton!
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An excellent blues player indeed... Who here knows that it was his father,John Hammond Sr. that discovered Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Stevie Ray Vaughan?!?
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Skilled player and some soulful stuff here!!! Nice to hear such a strong groove. We need more of John H. and less of, say, the most overrated, vapid, suck bag, Eric 'bore me to tears' Crap-ton.
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Sweet sugar. Little hoo-doo girl!!
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As a fellow harp player.....b o y can blow dat thang!
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This is an icon of blues, and a cornerstone of rock n roll. Long Live John Hammond. Check out Super Sessions!
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This guy keeps some good company!
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Mighty fine blues in my opinion!
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Absolute genius. Powerhouse. Like being immersed in blues Andalusia richness. And he's a wonderful and humble guy. Must see. Must hear. Must shake his hand and say thanks. I hear tell Tom Waits feels much the same way as well. Unheralded artistic brilliance. Precious.
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I had the great fortune to see and hear him LIVE in Toronto, Canada in 1973 and he was FANTASTIC. His music is sill great.
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Glad to see that John Hammond moved away from that dangerous dinosaur cloning business and picked up the blues. Proud of you, John.
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John Hammond Jr. may be a Vanderbilt but he and his father really loved jazz and blues and John Jr. really plays some fine fine blues !
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williamcaubl e
When I first heard the harp licks, I thought..Cha r l i e Musselwhite, that John Mayall? I was close.. it was Charlie. Hey John H, thanks for helping to keep the blues alive.
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I was at Antioch College with John, Jr. for a couple of semesters in late 1960 and early 1961. I'll never forget the hot rod he had that got rolled late one night when a bunch of kids were leaving a party. What a crying shame! At least all the people in the car survived, but I believe it ended up in a junkyard. I've often wondered if John had a relationship with Ian Buchannan who was a little older and one of the best 12 string blues players I ever heard!
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Have seen him in Alaska many times as he completes a tour to Austrailia .. Awesome and Authentic!
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John is the real deal !
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I....Like it
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Greatest Blues Man alive, you make me happy Brother...
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southern fried! no one has worn a snake skin suit with more panache
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white boy blues at it's best.
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scottcampbel l 1 9 5 8
Love John Hammond.
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john hammond has been keeping my feet tapping for nearly fifty years. play on player play on
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Have seen several solo shows of John. I check his website to see where he plays next! But rarely comes to Indianapolis anymore :(
But have never seen better shows-ever! Rod Piazza or Little Charlie come close though!
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seen john open for mahavishnu orchestra at fairleih dickinson col rutherford nj 1971 it worked
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John Hammond has a wonderful voice,had not heard him until this day..great job by this gifted man...Thanks Pandora
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"Wicked Grin" is Transcendent and too Great to debate...Tom Waits wrote "the Songs" John Hammond renders them with wit, sou* and verve! The Nerve of JH! Why... I Never Heard Anything Better( ever?)!!!
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Would love to see him live. I love his interpretati o n of the Blues.
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bobwatson285 3
Big city or a hole in the wall next time i get close enought to see him . I"M THERE ! I really liked everything i've heard so far very much and i'm for sure in person ,is a mind blowing experance . To then mr. hammonnd !
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John and Tom Waits have been friends 30 years... Wicked Grin was something both wanted to do. Great album! Tom sings backing on "I've been Changed". As others have said, Mr. Hammond is powerful good live, and a gentleman true to his roots. The real deal.
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fatbrowndadd y
best live blues performance I have ever seen was John Hammond, his acoustic, his National Resonator, and his harmonica... S i m p l y amazing the level at which he performs...
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who is this guy doing a Tom Waits tune? Give me Tom!
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I have seen John Hammond many times and he is great. His story telling about the classic blues artists is worth the price of admission. He is also such a gentleman and always willing to meet and chat with fans.
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John is the most under rated blues artist of our times. This man is the real deal. He plays every form of the blues. I once saw him perform in a hold-the-wal l . He came out with a old black wooden chair and two flat box guitars. For the next two hours I was lost in his world. Wow! that's blues..

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