Sunday, March 02, 2014

John Hammond about a song Tom Waits wrote for him


The album (John Hammond's Timeless, ed.) leads off with "No One Can Forgive Me But My Baby," a song (...) written especially for Hammond by Tom Waits.

"He came to a recording date I was doing in San Francisco in 1992," Hammond says. "John Lee Hooker had sat in to do a duet with me, and Tom Waits appeared out of nowhere and said, 'I have a song for you, man.' It was about 20 minutes long, with everybody in the Bible coming down to the river. I said, 'Gee, you know, it's a great song, but I don't think I could do anything like that.' He said, 'Oh, you don't like that one?' So he goes into the control room."

Scarcely 10 minutes later, Hammond says, Waits emerged — with a brand-new song at the ready. Hammond listened, and liked what he heard.

"So I did it," he says. "He had left by the time we completed it, and so I sent him a cassette of it. And I hadn't heard from him for a while, so I called — and he had it on his answering machine. I guess he liked it."

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