Live In San Francisco 1966
A bit of a throwaway/curio I guess, but a nice find also – John Hammond recorded live in San Francisco in 1966 – and though a lot of the band stuff choogles along with a basic bar-room boogie that is neither intoxicating nor insulting it’s the wee moments that stick out and make it; showing, I guess, the making of the man still – early in his career, despite hitting the ground running in the early 1960s and with a famous helping hand behind him. Here he’s still in cutting teeth mode as he tears through a chugging Who Do You Love and basic blues shuffles and ballads (You Got Me Walkin & Talkin, Gambler’s Blues). There’s pure grit to the voice and when the acoustic and the harmonic come to the fore – highlights – as on Evil we get the first real glimpses of the John Hammond that’s been a hardworking fixture ever since.
The version of Bo Diddley really comes alive, as does the slow-crawl of 44 Talkin’ Blues.
And on the instrumental, Sunday Blues, there’s some mighty fine slide playing even if the drumming feels altogether sloppy and almost gets in the way.
The closing rendition of Sweet Little Angel will feel like the thrill is gone if you’re a B.B. purist but I’ve always loved Hammond’s way with a line – both a vocal line and a guitar trill. And there’s something young and hungry and urgent here. He’s been serving the blues ever since but it’s interesting to go back to hear him near the start. Maybe the famous dad gave him the leg up that anyone else could have also delivered on – but he’s been no slouch ever since.
And if you’ve either been a fan or never heard any of the music but heard the name this is a good enough place to kick (back) into things…