365 Days of Album Recommendations – Dec 9

John Hammond Jr. – The Best Of


There was a time when I pretty much bought ANY LP that said “blues” on it, and was a Vanguard Twofer. The Twofers were my Dead Sea Scrolls. They were somehow MORE than just holy, the were revelatory in a way that CHANGED history.

John Hammond Jr’s early career took a bit to get into proper gear, and his first few albums are a little uneven—this can of course be forgiven, given what it was he was attempting; becoming a legit country bluesman.

That’s why I recommend this Twofer; partly, because it’s a Vanguard Twofer, and partly because it largely collects the best of Hammond’s early work to paint a strong picture of who and what he was and had become, by 1970, when he was the tender age of 28.

For those who know him as an acoustic troubadour, you may be surprised by the juke joint jumps and Chicago romps that populate the track list, but trust me, they’re just as legit as his acoustic workouts, and it’s all permeated through and through with that soulful freneticism that marks ALL of Hammond’s best work.

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