Fine straight-ahead effort
Tyler Smith | Denver, CO United States | 07/26/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hammond has been out there a long time, and he has earned his spurs as a straight-from-the-heart interpreter of the blues. "Mileage" is one of many fine albums he's released over the past 30-plus years, and it will make a fine addition to your blues library.Hammond delivers the goods, as usual, on both guitar and harmonica, and he effectively adds piano and drums for some tunes. His best moments come when he gets a chance to show off his rough, exciting voice, most notably on "Red Hot Kisses" and "Hot Tamales." Another high point is his rendition of the classic "Standin' Around Cryin'," which he delivers with heartfelt emotion, both vocally and on harmonica.Hammond reprises some earlier material on "Mileage," which he has tended to do on albums throughout his career, and his rework of "Seventh Son" probably could have afforded to be shelved. Still, leftovers sometimes taste better than first servings, and this is the case on "Help Me," originally recorded on the unfortunately deleted Columbia release "Source Point." I loved the tune in its original form, but Hammond improves on it on this album. It's a simmering blues boiler that sustains a sense of tension and menace from start to finish. Listeners not familiar with Hammonds' work will find "Mileage" to be a useful starting point. His is an authentic blues voice that is fortunately still going strong."