John Hammond On Mountain Stage

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John Hammond performed on Mountain Stage. i

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John Hammond performed on Mountain Stage.

John Hammond performed on Mountain Stage.

Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage


  • "Mean Ol' Lonesome Train"
  • "Heartache Blues"
  • "Get Behind the Mule"
  • "You Know That's Cold"
  • "In a Sentimental Mood" *
  • * Performed by Bob Thompson on piano

At 19, John Hammond hitchhiked to Los Angeles to start his career — and, in part, to remove himself from the long shadow of his father, John Henry Hammond. A well-known A&R executive, Hammond's father brought Bessie Smith, Big Joe Turner and Bob Dylan, among many others, to the forefront of American music.

Now, 40 years and more than 4,000 gigs later, John Hammond has influenced and inspired many young blues artists, just the way he himself was inspired by greats like Sonny Boy Williamson, John Lee Hooker and Willie Dixon. A great interpreter of classic blues, Hammond has recently begun penning his own songs. In his long career, he's built a repertoire that spans decades and generations, and has helped to preserve and perpetuate the blues tradition while building up a legacy of his own.

He performs two of his own songs, "Heartache Blues" and "You Know That's Cold," here on Mountain Stage, and he also pays tribute to Guitar Slim in "Mean Ol' Train." Hammond also revisits one of his most popular phases with "Get Behind the Mule," a song written by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan and included on the seminal Hammond record of Waits material, Wicked Grin. To round out the set, Mountain Stage pianist Bob Thompson performs Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood."

This segment originally ran Oct. 24, 2008.



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