Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Robert Nighthawk - Live on Maxwell Street (1964)

With very little in the way of money and very much in the way of time I've been listening to a considerable amount of blues music to keep myself from just sleeping days away. Robert Nighthawk is a bluesman I'd heard of but had neglected to hunt down any recordings of for too long. Born Robert McCollum, he assumed the nickname Nighthawk after he released an album called Prowling Night Hawk. He was trained in part by his cousin, Houston Stackhouse, and in turn helped teach younger blues players including Muddy Waters. Nighthawk was a figure that helped move Delta blues to the Chicago style that became increasing popular. So fittingly he recorded this live album on the Maxwell Street in Chicago, where as the artist himself explains during the interview found at the end was a street favored by blues musicians. The street concert setting defines the album in many ways with the crowd shouting, the sound washing together from the outdoor recording, and the energy of the music the artist selected to please the particular audience one would find on Maxwell Street. Don't take my word for it, you can watch the first track being played on youtube. From what I read this is commonly held to be among the best live blues albums, and I must say I've no reason to disagree.

To be had here:

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