Like several of Hammond's early albums, this 1968 effort would ultimately sound less impressive than it did at the time, simply because the original versions of the ten songs Hammond covered would become much more accessible. The material selected did testify to his good taste, but also stuck to the tried-and-true, including classics like "Dust My Broom," "Crosscut Saw….
John Hammond's career goes right back to the early '60s as part of the Greenwich Village Folk scene. On this slice of audio Blues bliss, Hammond covers songs by the likes of Lightnin' Slim, Willie Dixon, Sleepy John Estes and Blind Willie McTell.
So Many Roads is Hammond's most notable mid-'60s Vanguard album, due not so much to Hammond's own singing and playing (though he's up to the task) as the yet-to-be-famous backing musicians. Three future members of the Band – Robbie Robertson, Garth Hudson, and Levon Helm – are among the supporting cast, along with Charlie Musselwhite on harmonica, and Mike Bloomfield also contributes. It's one of the first fully realized blues-rock albums, although it's not in the same league as the best efforts of the era by the likes of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band or John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. In part that's because the repertoire is so heavy on familiar Chicago blues classics by the likes of Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley, and Muddy Waters; in part that's because the interpretations are so reverent and close to the originals in arrangement; and in part it's also because Hammond's blues vocals were only okay.
With a career that spans over three decades, John Hammond is one of 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.
His album, originally released in 1980, perfectly captures both the searing electric and raw acoustic blues stylings of the legendary John Hammond. His close-to-the-bone vocals, masterful fingerstyle and slide guitar, and piercing harmonica keep the flame alive on this collection of blues roots classics by Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Robert Johnson.
John Hammond's passion and commitment to his music have inspired blues lovers throughout the world for more than forty years. Now guitarists (and harmonica players) can learn, up close, how John plays the songs, licks, grooves and soulful solos that make up his dynamic blues style.
Remastered collection of John Hammond's early electric guitar work on Vanguard Records, with Charlie Musselwhite, members of The Band, Mike Bloomfield, Duane Allman, Spooner Oldham and others. Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, and Garth Hudson can be heard on tracks from the two '60s Vanguard releases.