Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
John P. Hammond (born John Paul Hammond, 13 November 1942, New York ) (often mistakenly known as "John Hammond, Jr", which is, in fact, his father's name), is a blues singer and guitarist. He is the son of the famed record producer and talent scout John Henry Hammond, Jr, which makes him a great-great-grandson of William Henry Vanderbilt and a member of the Vanderbilt family.
Hammond usually plays acoustic and National Reso-Phonic guitars and sings in a barrelhouse style. Since 1962, when he made his debut on Vanguard Records, Hammond has made twenty-nine albums. In the 1990s he recorded for the Pointblank record label. Hammond has earned one Grammy Award and been nominated for four others. His latest album, entitled Push Comes to Shove produced by Garrett (G. Love) Dutton, was released in February 2007. He also provided the soundtrack for the 1970 film, Little Big Man, starring Dustin Hoffman.
Although critically acclaimed, Hammond has received only moderate commercial success. Nonetheless, he enjoys a strong fan base and has earned respect from the likes of John Lee Hooker, Roosevelt Sykes, Duane Allman, Robbie Robertson, and Charlie Musselwhite, all of whom have contributed their musical talents to Hammond's records. In addition, he is the only person who ever had both Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix in his band at the same time, even if it was only for five days in the 1960s when Hammond played The Gaslight Cafe in New York. To his regret, they never recorded together. Hammond also deserves some credit for helping boost The Band to wider recognition: he recorded with several of their musicians in 1965, and recommended them to Bob Dylan, with whom they undertook a famed and tumultuous world tour.
Hammond has had a longstanding friendship with the songwriter Tom Waits, and has performed Waits' songs on occasion. For example, in 2001, he released Wicked Grin, an album entirely of Tom Waits compositions with one exception, the traditional spiritual, "I know I've Been Changed." Waits himself provided guitar work and backing vocals as well as producing the project.
In 2002 he released Ready for Love, produced by David Hidalgo of Los Lobos fame. It included a cover version of the Mick Jagger and Keith Richard penned, "The Spider and the Fly".
In the early part of the 1990s, Hammond also narrated and produced a documentary detailing the life of the legendary Delta bluesman, Robert Johnson. The 1992 documentary is called The Search for Robert Johnson.