In Your Arms Again
The veteran bluesman's latest CD provides another strong entry into the
42-year, and around 30-album career. A stripped-down affair recorded in a trio
configuration, In Your Arms Again is a simple but elegant exploration of the blues
and roosty R&B, well-played by Hammond's guitar, harmonica, and earthy
In October 2002, Hammond played in Salina, Kansas, at a blues festival held
at the Blue Heaven Studio, an old, gothic-style church now used for concerts
and recording studio. Hammond loves the acoustics of the place, so he returned
there to record the new album. Some of the songs on the album retain a sense of
the church-sized ambience.
Continuing his foray into writing some of his own material, began on the 2003
album Ready for Love on which Hammond wrote his first song. On the new album,
he contributes two songs, the slide-guitar and harmonica-driven title track
and "Come To Find Out."
But compositions from the pens of other writers still make up the core of
Hammond's repertoire, and a number of great songwriters are represented on the
new album. The excellent "I Got a Woman" salutes the late Ray Charles, as does
"Fool For You." Hammond brings out the passionate vocal delivery that Charles
could always bring to bear on this version of "I Got a Woman."
Bob Dylan's "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" is the song which concludes the
album. There's a terrific take on the John Lee Hooker tune "Serve Me Right to
Suffer." And Willie Dixon's "Evil (Is Going On)" and Jimmy Reed's "You Got Me
Crying" are also well-rendered by Hammond.
In Your Arms Again is an enjoyable, straightahead collection of great songs,
recorded by a master of his craft. While he doesn't reinvent any wheels on
this album, Hammond continues his deserved reputation for musical quality.