If you’re a fan of Tom Waits and not familiar with this album– pick it up now. John Hammond covers Tom Waits’ originals (except for one song), with Waits himself on backup and producing the album. They’ve been friends and played together for years. I’ve had Wicked Grin in heavy rotation since it came out in 2001, and whenever anyone hears it, right they are blown away by John Hammond’s boozy, barrelhouse blues chops.
Wicked Grin is utterly timeless, still worth raving over. In fact, I’m listening to it right now– and all of a sudden I need a beer.
If you’re not familiar with John Hammond, he’s an American blues & roots legend with crazy vocal, guitar and harmonica skills. John Hammond is 66 years old– still singing and playing strong, and resides in nearby Jersey city. Although he hasn’t had huge commercial success, he’s one of the most respected musicians among his peers. He’s the son of famed record producer John Hammond Jr. and interestingly enough, great-grandson of William Henry Vanderbilt.
You would never know he’s a Vanderbilt by listening to him. In fact, you’d swear he was raised on the Mississippi Delta.