Robert Nighthawk

Live on Maxwell Street

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Recorded by Norman Dayron live on the street (you can actually hear cars driving by!) in 1964 with just Robert Whitehead on drums and Johnny Young on rhythm guitar, Robert Nighthawk's slide playing (and single-string soloing, for that matter) are nothing short of elegant and explosive. Highlights include "The Maxwell Street Medley," which combines his two big hits "Anna Lee" and "Sweet Black Angel"; a mind-altering 12-bar solo on "The Time Have Come," which proves that Nighthawk's lead playing was just as well developed as his slide work; and a couple of wild instrumentals with Carey Bell sitting in on harmonica. Nighthawk sounds cool as a cucumber, presiding over everything with an almost genial charm while laying the toughest sounds imaginable. One of the top three greatest live blues albums of all times. The 2000 CD reissue on Bullseye Blues & Jazz adds five previously unreleased bonus tracks, although Nighthawk doesn't have a lead vocal on any of these. "The Real McCoy" is an instrumental; Young sings on "Big World Blues" and "All I Want for Breakfast/Them Kind of People"; Bell sings "I Got News for You," and J.B. Lenoir takes a guest lead vocal on "Mama Talk to Your Daughter" (though Peter Guralnick's liner notes express doubt that the singer is actually Lenoir).

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