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Music Review: John Hammond – Push Comes To Shove

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John Hammond is no stranger to the blues.

With over 40 years of experience and 31 records under his belt, he has tapped his goliath blues sound straight from the source. There are precious few artists that can reinvent themselves at age 64, but John Hammond has never been one to do things by the book.

Taking on the young, innovative, and longtime Hammond fanatic, singer/guitarist G.Love as producer and guest musician, Hammond has opened himself up to more modern ideas. Hammond pens five of the twelve songs here, and has created a thrilling modern blues offering that still delivers that undeniable John Hammond sound.

Right from the opener, and title track "Push Comes To Shove," Hammond has you well and truly hooked. This is archetypal John Hammond — raw and dirty but with a funkier side, brought out by his guest producer. The album is a mix of originals and blues standards reworked with Hammond’s unique touch and style combining with G.Love’s youthful exuberance.

Sonny Thompson’s blues classic "Tore Down" is given a groovy, pumped-up treatment by Hammond and band, that gives it a new lease of life. The majority of the album is upbeat, with the exception of slower numbers such as Little Walter’s "Come On In this House," and Hammond’s own "Eyes Behind Your Head," where he showcases his melancholic, larger than life, blues holler, sending shivers down your spine every time.

Where previous John Hammond albums have always been at their most impressive and sincere is on the acoustic, more guitar-orientated numbers. The same is equally true here. "Heartache Blues" and "Cold Water" are much bluesier in the traditional sense of the word, as Hammond tears it up with some acoustic and slide playing that leaves you breathless.

I would advise any fellow Hammond enthusiast to add this to their collection immediately, and for those unfamiliar with his work to pick up a copy and start their collection today. This album is an energetic and vibrant step forward for Hammond, and is destined to become a highlight of an already illustrious career.

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