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  • Ready for Love
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Ready for Love

10 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 11, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

After 40 years of playing traditional blues, John Hammond reinvented himself at age 59 and began his current winning streak by trading his acoustic guitars for an armful of Tom Waits songs, resulting in 2001's exceptional Wicked Grin. Hammond stays plugged-in on Ready for Love, but taps a diverse group of songwriters that includes Waits, Willie Dixon, Los Lobos's David Hidalgo, George Jones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and country crooner Freddie Hart.

His voice--as full of character as weathered tarpaper on a Delta shack roof--does wonders with numbers like Hart's "Easy Lovin'," Billie Holiday's "Comes Love," and a slow, creep-show take on Dixon's "Same Thing" with a Hammond guitar solo that's deliberate perfection. The CD kicks off with "Crown Vic," a John Lee Hooker-inspired winner that's the second number Hammond's penned and recorded himself (the first was "Baby, Won't You Tell Me" from his 1964 sophomore album, Big City Blues). Hidalgo does double duty as producer and guitarist, infusing the album with the same spare, blues-drenched character that he brought to his Latin Playboys and Houndog projects. He and guitarist Frank Cirillo also provide the disc's sonic signature: intertwining, tremolo-soaked vintage guitar tones that help even the contemporary numbers sound like classics. --Ted Drozdowski

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 11, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Back Porch
  • ASIN: B000087DS3
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,462 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "nedray" on April 3, 2003
Format: Audio CD
It seems everyone who bought Wicked Grin wsa either a Waits fan or a Hammond fan. I was one of the former, never having connected with Hammond's take on traditional blues. Even on Wicked Grin, I thought he sounded a little like a lounge lizard at times, even while I was sort of irresistably drawn to the album.
So I wasn't really looking out for John Hammond's new album. I saw it on a Border's listening station and tried it out from idle curiosity. The first tune "Slick Crown Vic," had me thinking this wasn't bad--still making the same general kind of noise he made with Waits. "Easy Lovin'" had me grinning at the choice of such a song. But "Spider and the Fly" sealed the deal. The rhythm guitar and the sly, growly vocals, along with an insistent, sinuous groove, just made me believe a song and its master had finally met. The Stones did it well, even at their young age at the time, but that song was made for this treatment.
That to me is the highlight of the album, but it doesn't slide far from that level. The two Waits songs are right in keeping with the previous album. The two George Jones songs are just the durnedest thang to hear a cover of anywhere, but guaranteed make you smile with glee. The only song I think could have been traded for something elsse is his take on "Money Honey." Not that it's bad--the world just doesn't need another cover of that song.
I wouldn't put this album in the blues box--or any other box for that matter. It's not for guitar freaks or crooners or any other "interest group." It's for anyone who's ever lived and been tempted by the seedy, sensuous, side of life. If you've ever "said 'Hi' like the spider to a fly," this album is for you. If you ever got real happy just by hearing a song done just right, this one has some real happy in store for you.
I didn't plan to buy it, but once I heard it, I couldn't live without it. I second the other writer's nomination for "Best of the Year." It's just cool.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard J. Orlando on February 18, 2003
Format: Audio CD
It gleams ambulance white and bubble gum pink. Matching interior. With a front seat like a sofa, and a back seat the size of a porch, this sweetheart is powered by a V-8 so confident it has no need to roar. It purrs.
Take a tour of America's back roads with with John Hammond in his slick Crown Vic.
Rambling, for forty plus years now, Hammond is the consumate tour guide, never telling the same story the same way twice: he'll turn a true story into a fable of wonder or polish a lie until you can see straight down to it's core of truth.
He delights in showing us the beauty in what we routinely overlook or purposely avoid. On "Ready for Love", it's country and western music as he does songs by Freddie Hart and George Jones. There are two more Tom Waits compositions and Waits' presence can be felt in Hammonds on "Slick Crown Vic" which gets this collection primed for a smooth ride.
He performs a jazz vocal standard like "Comes Love" with the same ease that he brings to the obscure Jagger-Richards track, "Spider and the Fly" (a highlight).
He gets us to listen anew to the Little Richard/Elvis Presely "Money Honey" by giving it a complete overhaul, and brings a swamp vibe harkening back to "Ground Hog Blues" for 1973's unfairly recieved "Triumverate", to Willie Dixon's "Same Thing", another warhorse.
Producer David Hidalgo of Los Lobos also salvages two songs from his 1999 side project "Houndog".
Holdovers in the band from last year's brillant "Wicked Grin" are Augie Meyers: piano and Stehpen Hodges: percussion.
Whether you'd just discovered John Hammond through his association with Waits or you've been with him for a while, change the oil, wipe the windows and enjoy the ride.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Sean Brickell on March 1, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Why, oh why is there no justice in music? If half of today's so-called superstars released a disc half this good, it would be on the charts for months. As is, Mr. Hammond has given us an absolutely brilliant (I hesitate to use the "M" word, but hey, here I go anyway!) MASTERPIECE that too-few will ever hear. It's a cryin' shame, I tell ya.
Call me short-sighted in my forecast, but I'll lay even money this is on my "2003 Best-Of" list, regardless of what's still to come in the months ahead.
I figured Mr. Hammond had peaked on his last, a tribute to Tom Waits and produced by none-other. Maybe so. While this CD is no better, it sure enough ain't any worse.
And that says it all. Buy the CD.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 15, 2003
Format: Audio CD
...I can't remember if it was more than a year ago or less when I purchased John Hammond's Wicked Grin album (and masterpiece). I do remember that I bought the album simply because it was both written and produced by Tom Waits. I was blown away. Everything about the blues that I love is in that album. The dirt, the sex, the violence, the blood, the spirit, the blackout, the murder, the west-bound train, and the heartattack. I guess it was easy for me to be skeptical when it came to Hammond's follow-up - seeing as Tom Waits was not at the helm.
Well, folks, John Hammond did it again...
I can't explain it but there's something about these songs that makes falling out (and in, I guess) of love alright. These songs are muddy, rusty, sweet, sour, suicidal, dark, railing, wet, sandy, and true. Whether it be a country swagger ("Color of the Blues", "Just one More") or a blackhills narrative ("Low Side of the Road", "Spider and The Fly"), Hammond not only pulls it off but beats it to the ground and then kicks it when it's down. Oh Lordy have mercy. These songs are sketched in everyone of us that has had a broken heart, that feels lonesome early in the morning, that takes it too hard, that can't remember to forget, and that has no chance in Hell when it comes to romance.
Every song on here is a standout so I suggest that you just pop it in the ol' cd player in the car and just drive. These are rainy night blues, sunny day blues, and bittersweet dusk blues - so it doesn't matter when you're listening. This is the way blues is supposed to sound. Fun, easy, real, smart, dark, and loud.
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