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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Robert Nighthawk - Ramblin' Bob

Of all the pivotal figures in blues history, certainly one of the most important was Robert Nighthawk. He bridged the gap between Delta and Chicago blues effortlessly, taking his slide cues from Tampa Red and stamping them with a Mississippi edge learned first hand from his cousin, Houston Stackhouse. Though he recorded from the '30s into the early '40s under a variety of names -- Robert Lee McCoy, Rambling Bob, Peetie's Boy -- he finally took his lasting sobriquet of Robert Nighthawk from the title of his first record, "Prowling Night Hawk." It should be noted that the huge lapses in the man's discography are direct results of his rambling nature, taciturnity, and seeming disinterest in making records. Once you got him into a studio, the results were almost always of a uniform excellence. But it might be two years or more between sessions.
Nighthawk never achieved the success of his more celebrated pupils, Muddy Waters and Earl Hooker, finding himself to be much happier to be working one nighters in taverns and the Maxwell Street open market on Sundays. He eventually left Chicago for his hometown of Helena, AR, where he briefly took over the King Biscuit Radio Show after Sonny Boy Williamson died, while seemingly working every small juke joint that dotted the landscape until his death from congestive heart failure in 1967. Robert Nighthawk is not a name that regularly gets bandied about when discussing the all-time greats of the blues. But well it should, because his legacy was all-pervasive; his resonant voice and creamy smooth slide guitar playing (played in standard tuning, unusual for a bluesman) would influence players for generations to come and many of his songs would later become blues standards.

Thanks go to Sundayblues for the "Story of Robert Nighthawk".

Post: http://www10.zippyshare.com/v/70789104/file.html

7 comments:

Ansina said...

Many thanks. By the way, why oh why we don't have a FNAC in Uruguay : )

Tulloch said...

Many thanks for posting this. I thought I had Nighthawk's complete works but there's a couple of tracks here that are new to me - great post, great blog!

Anonymous said...

Very nice! Many thanks! This is one of his best CDs. To the down.loader ... it's at threeTwenty C. And there is good art ... but Xyros has tweaked up the image of the cover on this web page a bit and it is even a little bit better. Again, thanks!

Alan Balfour said...

Everything you'd want to know about Nighthawk's recordings but never dare ask! [smile]


http://nighthawk.sundayblues.org/

Anonymous said...

thank you for your many great posts.

Anonymous said...

I once assisted with a series of interviews in Helena and Clarksdale and thereabouts for a documentary about SBWII. (Actually, I mostly transcribed what I call "Delta Ebonics" into standard English for the researchers, who need a local translator in their work.) Anyway, related artists and KFFA history came up frequently, and I recall a number of conversations with elderly people who knew Robert Nighthawk. At the time of his death, he was staying at the Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale, and the owner and other regulars were convinced that Nighthawk knew his death was imminent. One day, he left all his worldly goods at the hotel and walked to a nearby bridge over the Sunflower River, where he found a comfortable spot in the shade under the bridge, sat down and died. That seems like the epitome of taking one's exit for a rambling blues man. Thanks so much for this wonderful recording!

12vjoe said...

Thanks very much!