Wicked Grin

Wicked Grin

by John Hammond Jr.John Hammond Jr.


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While not the oddest couple on the sonic spectrum, the team of roots traditionalist John Hammond and avant-garder Tom Waits is nevertheless not one that most folks would think of forming. Well, shame on "most folks." On this eye-opening collection, which lets Hammond use his old-as-the-hills baritone to shape some of Waits's more intriguing tunes, the two meld as readily as ham 'n' eggs -- or, more to the point, a shot and a beer. At times, Hammond's performance is relatively straightforward, particularly on bleary, barroom-style early tunes like "Heartattack and Vine." But more often, the men establish an uneasy but natural-sounding middle ground, emphasizing the menace of "16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought Six" and wringing a dust-bowl melancholy from the echoing "Buzz Fledderjohn." Although Waits -- who also produced the disc -- and Hammond spend a fair amount of time dressing the tunes up in unlikely threads (like the south-of-the-border oompah of "Jockey Full of Bourbon"), there's never a sense that anyone's consciously trying to weird out the listener. And thanks to the smoldering playing of guests like keyboardist Augie Meyers (best known as a Texas Tornado) and harmonica wizard Charlie Musselwhite, just about every note resonates with earthy brilliance.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/13/2001
Label: Virgin Records Us
UPC: 0724385076428
catalogNumber: 50764
Rank: 47354

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John Hammond   Primary Artist
Charlie Musselwhite   Harp
Tom Waits   Guitar,Hand Clapping
Augie Meyers   Piano,Accordion,Hammond Organ,Electric Piano,Hand Clapping,Wurlitzer
Larry Taylor   Bass
Oz Fritz   Hand Clapping
Stephen Hodges   Percussion,Drums,Hand Clapping
Ralph Patlan   Hand Clapping
Gene Cornelius   Hand Clapping

Technical Credits

Tom Waits   Producer
Kathleen Brennan   Concept
T Bone Burnett   Liner Notes
Oz Fritz   Engineer
Huddie Ledbetter   Composer
Tom Recchion   Art Direction
Jeff Dunas   Cover Art

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