John Hammond – So Many Roads (1965)

FrontCover1John Hammond jr., son of the legendary Columbia Records A&R man who had signed Billie Holliday, Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan, met the Hawks in Toronto in 1964 and was astonished by the perfection with which these young men played rhythm and blues. After several jam sessions with the Hawks, Hammond arranged for the Hawks to back him on this third album he would cut for Vanguard, but the record company insisted that he should use bassist Jimmy Lewis and piano player Mike Bloomfield. The old-time-blues inspired album So Many Roads ended up with Robbie, Levon and Garth contributing guitar, drums and keyboards. Robertson’s guitar work is among his most exciting blues performances, what Greil Marcus described as “all rough edges, jagged bits of metal ripping through the spare rhythm section”. (by http://theband.hiof.no)

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 John Hammond01Musselwhite 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. Revisionist critics thus tend to downgrade the record a notch. But in the context of its time — when songs like “Down in the Bottom,” “Long Distance Call,” “Big Boss Man,” and “You Can’t Judge a Book By the Cover” were not as well known as they would become — it was a punchy, well-done set of electric blues with a rock touch. (by Richie Unterberger)

What a line-up !!!

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Personnel:
Michael Bloomfield (piano)
John Hammond (vocals, guitar)
Levon Helms (drums)
Eric Hudson (organ)
Jimmy Lewis (bass)
Charlie Musselwhite (harmonica)
Robbie Robertson (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Down In The Bottom (Dixon) 3.05
02. Long Distance Call (Morganfield) 3.22
03. Who Do You Love (McDaniels) 3.03
04. I Want You To Love Me (Morganfield) 4.09
05. Judgment Day (Johnson/Hammond) 3.26
06. So Many Roads, So Many Trains (Paul) 2.43
07. Rambling Blues (Johnson) 3.19
08. O Yea! (McDaniels) 3.36
09. You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover (Dixon) 3.32
10. Gambling Blues (Jackson) 3.14
11. Baby, Please Don’t Go (Williams) 2.23
12. Big Boss Man (Smith/Dixon) 2.41

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Julian Cannonball Adderley – And Strings (1955)

FrontCover1Julian Cannonball Adderley and Strings is the second album by jazz saxophonist Cannonball Adderley to be released on the EmArcy label and features Adderley with and orchestra directed by Richard Hayman.

The “and Strings” album is one of the biggest clichés of ’50s jazz. The idea of taking a prominent jazz soloist and placing him in an orchestral context usually doesn’t work as jazz and often doesn’t cut it as mood music, either. Julian Cannonball Adderley and Strings suffers a bit in terms of song selection — “Surrey With a Fringe on Top” and “Polka Dots and Moonbeams (Around a Pug-Nosed Dream)” are a little on the corny side — but Adderley himself plays beautifully, showing off his typically excellent soloing throughout, and Bill Russo’s orchestral arrangements are less invasive than similar arrangements for other “and Strings” albums, more Gil Evans than Mantovani. The opening “I Cover the Waterfront” is a stellar kickoff, a smoky ballad perfect for Adderley’s soulful style, but barring a few minor missteps, all of Julian Cannonball Adderley and Strings is well worth hearing. (by Stewart Mason)

And here´s another sentimental journey in the past …

Recorded in New York City on October 27 (tracks 9-12) & October 28 (tracks 1-8), 1955

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Personnel:
Julian Cannonball Adderley (saxophone)
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unknown Orchestra conducted by Richard Hayman ( arranged by Bill Russo

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Tracklist:
01. I Cover The Waterfront (Green/Heyman) 2.27
02. A Foggy Day (Gershwin) 2.42
03. The Surrey With the Fringe On Top (Hammerstein II/Rodgers) 2.33
04. Two Sleepy People (Carmichael/Loesser) 3.01
05. I’ll Never Stop Loving You (Brodszky/Cahn) 2.41
06. (I’m Afraid) The Masquerade Is Over (Magidson/Wrubel) 3.11
07. I’ve Never Been in Love Before (Loesser) 2.20
08. Lonely Dreams (Gubenko) 2.30
09. Falling In Love With Love (Hart/Rodgers) 2.33
10. Street Of Dreams (Lewis/Young) 2.14
11. Polka Dots And Moonbeams (Burke/v.Heusen) 3.04
12. You Are Too Beautiful (Hart/Rodgers) 2.55

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