John Hammond's Blues

Life on the endless highway is good, he says, adding, "I'm a happy guy." A few burly chuckles later, he confesses, "You have to be a little bit nuts to do this. But when you've established contacts all over the planet, if you don't show up every year or so, they think you died. I don't have the benefits of hit records, massive publicity and so forth. I survive on the strength of my personal appearances and my ability to handle the road."

Blues lovers who have seen a Hammond performance clearly understand his appeal. But he has a few words for the uninitiated. "I'm a real blues singer," he points out. "I really love the music. You can hear that it is my life."

Tribute to Robert Johnson, with John Hammond, Robert Jr. Lockwood and Rory Block. 8 p.m. Saturday, August 31, Chautauqua Auditorium, $17-$22, 440-7666.

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