Blues Bytes

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August 2007

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John Hammond
Push Comes To Shove
Back Porch

John Hammond

Although John Hammond’s recording career spans somewhere in the region of 40 years, he’s always been known more for his live music then for his recorded works. It looks very much as though he intends to right this wrong with a superb new CD, Push Comes To Shove (Back Porch), in collaboration with a HipHop man called G.Love. Despite the diverse musical backgrounds, this partnership has produced some great results.

Unusually, John Hammond has decided to start writing his own material, and there are five of his originals included on the album, as well as some by G.Love. The cover versions are topnotch too, and the combination is pure magic for John Hammond fans. Some of the covers might seem a little out of place on a blues album (like Dion’s “If You Want To Rock n Roll"), but trust me, they work! The others, by Little Walter, Junior Wells, etc need no explanation.

The album opens with the title track “Push Comes To Shove,” a Hammond original and a very good medium tempo blues rocker, and a great way to open the CD. The speed drops down a notch with the Junior Wells track “Come On In This House,” one of the best versions that I’ve heard, before moving on to the Otis Hicks/Jerry West number, “Mean Ole Lonesome Train.

By the time track four comes around it's obvious that this CD is something special – and this track is the Dion cover, featuring some fine piano work by Bruce Katz, who stands out as a fine musician on this album.

My least favourite track has to be “Tore Down,” with some background vocals by G.Love – that’s not to say it’s a bad track, it’s just not to my taste and possibly might not appeal to blues purists.

Favourite track?.......... It has to be a choice between the Hammond original “Heartache Blues,” Little Walter’s “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” and “If You Want To Rock n Roll” – the CD is worth buying for these three tracks alone.

Musically, there isn’t a bad track on the album.

--- Terry Clear


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