While he has frequently recorded (and been critically praised) over the past four decades with such collaborators as Duane Allman and Dr. John, Hammond's highest-profile release to date is his celebrated 2001 pairing with Tom Waits, Wicked Grin. Hammond's deep-baritone growl proved a splendid vehicle for Waits's seedy, seductive imagery. Grin's success propelled Hammond around the globe for 18 months of touring with a band in tow and wide media exposure. Perhaps to capitalize on his growing audience, this year's Ready for Love has Hammond once again reaching beyond blues. The disc sports country gems from George Jones and Freddie Hart, references Billie Holiday and the Stones, and includes, not surprisingly, a couple of Waits tunes. While he's sure to draw from his recent stash on stage, a big dose of the old stuff is still a good bet.
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