LIVE: G. Love / John Hammond @ Skidmore’s Zankel Music Center, 9/7/14

September 25th, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg
G. Love

G. Love

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Lena Spencer first opened the doors to Caffe Lena more than a half century ago, and thanks to Sarah Craig – who’s been the director and guiding light of the little-coffeehouse-that-could for the past 20 years – two generations of Caffe favorites came together on the stage of Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center earlier this month in a blues-soaked benefit for the enduring Saratoga folk music haven. It was a night of Blues Hall of Famer John Hammond and his ’90s hit-making acolyte G. Love.

Hammond made his debut at Lena’s way back in 1962, but at the Zankel, only his silver hair that gave away his status as a 71-year-old blues veteran. Looking fit and trim and still sounding like a howling hurricane, Hammond opened the show with a crackling, foot-stomping, hour-long set that served as something of a career retrospective as he sat alone on a center-stage stool with his guitar and harmonica, rumbling through a dozen tasty tunes that dipped deep into the songbags of the blues greats that influenced him – from Lightning Slim to Buddy Guy, from Howlin’ Wolf to Blind Willie McTell, from Bobby Bland to Sleepy John Estes.

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John Hammond, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?

April 14th, 2011, 10:00 am by Greg
John Hammond

John Hammond performing at the Egg in 2010

“I was pretty young, probably about nine or ten years old, but I remember buying an album by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee on Folkways Records.

It had a photograph – probably taken by Dave Gahr – of Sonny on the cover with cotton fields reflected in his sunglasses.”

Veteran bluesman John Hammond performs at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield at 8pm on Friday, sharing the stage with Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks. Tix are $25 and $45.

LIVE: Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks @ The Egg, 4/23/10

April 29th, 2010, 3:00 pm by Greg

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks

“We understand Dan is in the building,” the big man with the untamed duck-tail haircut and weight-challenged Elvis sideburns informed us at the start of the show. “Stay tuned for further developments.”

Our helpful announcer was, of course, Dan Hicks, who has been doling out Texas Swing and deadpan humor for over forty-five years, ever since (as he so diplomatically put it) “I was living in San Francisco (and) you were living in Troy!” Regional smackdown aside, the Arkansas native had the eventually-packed Swyer Theatre laughing and clapping from the opening Django Reinhardt instrumental “Avalon” to the easy blues closer “Four or Five Times.”

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