on June 7, 1999
In a flurry of recent releases a clearer picture of Night Hawk's artistry is emerging (he himself spelled his name as two words). This disc re-releases the recordings made by Night Hawk in 1951 for the United label and in 1952 for its subsidiary, States. It adds two takes that were not on the original LP release of 1977 (Pearl 11). Highlights include "The Moon is Rising" and "Maggie Campbell," which are interesting to hear in different versions here. With this disc, two recent Testament discs that include Night Hawk material ("Down Home Slide" and "Down Home Harp," both of which include performances that are a bit stilted--they were probably bootlegged from the May 1964 blues festival at Mandel Hall at the University of Chicago which had blues artists performing in an auditorium before a polite audience unused to the blues), and, most important, the new "And This Is Maxwell Street" 2CD set from P-Vine in Japan PCD 5527/28 (and let us hope soon on a U.S. label!), we begin to see that Night Hawk was a far more versatile guitarist than many probably have realized. On the "Bricks In My Pillow" release reviewed here, the pace is usually fast. The disc has a rather different feel from the lush but mournful playing we know from Chess recordings such as Anna Lee. Perhaps most interesting of all, however, is the extraordinary range of styles Night Hawk plays on the P-Vine "And This Is Maxwell Street" discs, but perhaps that should not be surprising given Night Hawk's remarks in the interview with Michael Bloomfield that was made in conjuction with the filming of Mike Shea's Maxwell Street documentary "And This is Free." There he mentions that he used to play swing, Spanish numbers, popular numbers.... The P-Vine discs release all of the recordings made for "And This Is Free." It is great to have the United and States masters available again here on this disc. Recommended. Just wish I knew who the drummer in the cover photo was! [Reviewer's update: I have confirmed that the drummer is Jimmy Lee Collins, the same drummer that appears in "And This is Free." "And This is Maxwell Street" was released on Rooster Records (US) and Katfish Records (UK) after this review was written.]
on June 4, 2014
Robert Nighthawk is a bluesman I'd often read about in books about blues history, but I'd never actually heard his music. The books said he'd played with people like Robert Johnson, Sonny Boy Williamson and Muddy Waters so I decided to check out Robert Nighthawk's music by actually buying one of his CDs.
I decided to try this one as an introduction to Nighthawk since it was on the Delmark label and, in my experience, Delmark recordings tend to be good quality.
This one is no exception. This is very good material and the sound is good for music recorded in 1951 and 1952. Robert Nighthawk was a very good guitar player and vocalist.
The sidemen on the sessions are not all known; perhaps the original notes of the sessions have been lost. The liner notes say it is Roosevelt Sykes or Bob Call on piano for the 1951 session and Curtis Jones on piano for the 1952 session with Ransom Knowling on bass for both sessions. It is possibly Jump Jackson on drums for the 1951 session but the drummer on the 1952 is not known.
Overall, a very good CD. If you like blues, you might want to check out this Robert Nighthawk CD. After hearing this one, I'll be checking out some other Robert Nighthawk material.
on August 12, 1998
Possibly the best example of electrified Delta blues ever to come out of Chicago. Every detail is perfect, from Nighthawk's liquid extrapolations on themes established by Tampa Red and others, to Jump Jackson's swinging hi-hat, to Ransom Knowling's astounding slapped upright bass. The songs, too, are every bit as good as the performances. Do yourself a favor and own this record.
on August 15, 2015
Great, sparse style of slide guitar...plays solos on one or two strings. A seminal figure in the slide guitar pantheon of greats. He's also a fine, emotional singer, and a great musician. Some of the songs are so haunting, and he wrings the most out of just a few strings when he solos.
on February 1, 2013
To me, Robert Nighthawk`s guitar style led the way to the beginning of guitar based rock-n-roll music which became popular in the 1960`s. This recording was made in the 1950`s and it is a pioneering effort. I place Robert Nighthawk in the same musical camp as Muddy Waters. Both helped lead the way to the amplified guitar sounds of the 60`s. Too bad musicians like Nighthawk didnt become popular with a white audience earlier. He never received the credit due to him in his own lifetime.
on September 7, 2008
If you love raw, unadulterated blues done old school style you cannot do better than this. This CD is a rare glimpse into the blues form before the words Good and Bad meant the same thing. Nighthawk is the full meal deal great guitar, lyrics straight from the heart (broken heart) and an honest performance. If you could drink this CD it would be Jim Beam and Budwiser. Yessir. The real thing.