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The Nighthawks American Landscape

American Landscape
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  • CDPOW126
  • 0.1
Founded by Mark Wenner 33 years ago, The Nighthawks are still going strong, today. The band... more

The Nighthawks: American Landscape

Founded by Mark Wenner 33 years ago, The Nighthawks are still going strong, today. The band still sounds fresh with its unique blend of American blues and roots music. Two new members are adding an extra shot of energy. No original, but 12 hand-icked covers from Dylan to Tom Eaits, from Slim Harpo to Ike Turner. I like it. MARK WENNER hca/voc, PAUL BELL gtr/voc, JOHNNY CASTLE bass/voc, PETE RAGUSA drums/voc.

Article properties: The Nighthawks: American Landscape

Nighthawks, The - American Landscape CD 1
01 big boy The Nighthawks
02 down in the hole The Nighthawks
03 she belongs to me The Nighthawks
04 matchbox The Nighthawks
05 where do you go? The Nighthawks
06 try it baby The Nighthawks
07 jana lea The Nighthawks
08 made up my mind The Nighthawks
09 don't turn your heater down The Nighthawks
10 most likely you go your way and i'll go mine The Nighthawks
11 standing in the way The Nighthawks
12 fishin' hole theme The Nighthawks
The Nighthawks (Robert Nighthawk) Until his disciple Earl Hooker came to prominence, it's... more
"The Nighthawks"

The Nighthawks (Robert Nighthawk)

Until his disciple Earl Hooker came to prominence, it's unlikely any blues slide guitarist developed a cleaner, lighter, more melodic touch than Robert Nighthawk. He started out recording in the pre-war era as Robert Lee McCoy, but that wasn't his real name either. He was born Robert Lee McCollum (or McCullum) in Helena, Arkansas on November 30, 1909.

Robert got started playing guitar late, at approximately 21. His first instrument was harmonica before his cousin, Houston Stackhouse, tutored him on guitar. But he was a fast learner. Bluebird signed him in 1937; he made his recording debut in Aurora, Illinois, on the same May day as Sonny Boy Williamson. By then, he'd changed his handle to McCoy after fleeing the south following a murky shooting incident that compelled him to take up residence in St. Louis.

One of McCoy's songs that day was called Prowling Night-Hawk, the inspiration for his most enduring alias. There were a couple more Bluebird dates and a 1940 Decca session as Peetie's Boy before the war upended recording activities. Nomadic Robert ended up back in Helena for a time, broadcasting his pungent blues over KFFA for Bright Star Flour in direct competition with the second Sonny Boy Williamson's 'King Biscuit Time' program.

Muddy Waters recommended his old friend Robert, who had by this time gone electric, to Leonard Chess. Nighthawk cut for him in late 1948 and again on July 12, 1949, when the day's itinerary included the chilling Black Angel Blues, pianist Ernest Lane and bassist Willie Dixon providing splendidly sparse accompaniment. The song harked back to 1930 and rough-edged classic blues singer Lucille Bogan (though Nighthawk was probably more familiar with fellow slide master Tampa Red’s 1934 version), and in 1956 B.B. King would score a solid R&B hit with it as Sweet Little Angel. Aristocrat—the label Leonard Chess was associated with prior to his own self-named firm—issued it as by The Nighthawks. The other side, Annie Lee Blues, made a chart dent—Robert's only fleeting moment in the national spotlight.

Bill Dahl
Chicago, Illinois

PLUG IT IN! TURN IT UP!

Electric Blues 1939-2005. - The Definitive Collection!

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