Robert Nighthawk: Black Angel Blues


Black Angel Blues


Robert Nighthawk (guitar, vocals)


Prowling with the Nighthawk (Document 32-20-6)

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Robert Nighthawk (guitar, vocals),

Ernie Lane (piano), Willie Dixon (bass)


Composed by Hudson Whittaker (Tampa Red)


Recorded: Chicago, July 12, 1949


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

Robert Nighthawk lived his life on the fringe, moving from place to place, changing his name to suit his various situations. He was born Robert Lee McCollum, but none of his records was issued under that name. Instead his discography finds him called Rambling Bob or Robert Lee McCoy or finally—and most famously—Robert Nighthawk. Of course, fame is a relative thing. At the time of his death in 1967, not a single LP had been released under his name. But the musicians knew that Nighthawk was one of the greatest exponents of electric slide guitar. Nighthawk associated with Robert Johnson, and he had the rare distinction of performing at Muddy Waters's wedding, where the music got people so hot and bothered, the dance floor collapsed from the strain. Here on a classic track from 1949, Nighthawk shows off his very deep blues. This is slide guitar the way it was meant to sound. Under other circumstances, Nighthawk would have been a star, but even though his career was spent on the fringe of the commercial music world, his posthumous reputation places him among the legends.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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