Hammond Gamble: Ninety Mile Days (Liberation)

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Hammond Gamble: You Cheated Me
Hammond Gamble: Ninety Mile Days (Liberation)

Two years ago when this Auckland singer-songwriter and very special guitarist released his Recollection album (acoustic treatments of Street Talk and solo songs) I noted that it served to remind what a great songwriter he was.
He'd long been acknowledged as an expressive bluesy singer and guitarist, but it had been too easy to forget just how crafted songs such as Whistling the Blues in the Rain, Poison, Should I Be Good and other songs were.
If that album did nothing else than remind people of that it had served its purpose, but it seems to have also given the Liberation label and Gamble the kick into a long overdue solo album.
My guess is his previous one -- aside from Recollection and the live Plugged In And Blue from the mid 90s -- had been maybe 20 years ago.
Ninety Mile Days -- a dozen originals -- confirms that Gamble is one of this country's greatest, if largely overlooked, talents.
From the opener I Had A Dream (which could become a standard in many jazz singer's sets) through the roadhouse blues of It's Been Too Long, the acerbic post-separation ballad You Cheated Me, the acoustic pop of Memory No 1 and the moody understatement of Waiting for the Rain (which seems very familiar), this is an outstanding collection.
It is also notable for the musical diversity -- blues, pop, ballads, soul -- which Gamble effortlessly commands.
And songs like For the First Time, I Had A Dream and Stranger's Girl sound like local classics to me.
This album has been a long time coming, but it has been well worth the wait.  

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