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COLUMN SEVENTY-FOUR, AUGUST 1, 2002
(Copyright 2002 The Blacklisted Journalist)

JOHN HAMMOND REMEMBERED

Subject: One day shortly before Mr. Hammond's death I was in New York and I called him
Date: Sun, 2 Jun 2002 18:36:50 EDT
From: Clark112000@aol.com
To: info@blacklistedjournalist.com

One day shortly before Mr. Hammond's death I was in New York and I called him from the lobby house phone at CBS as he told me to do from the first time I went to see him.  Usually when I called from the lobby house phone he would tell me to come up to his office.  He would call the security guard at the front desk and give his tell the security guard to permit me to enter the elevator and I would go up to his office.

This particular day he said to me "don't come up because I'm coming down shortly" . His voice had a ringing excitement to it when he then asked me if I'd like to go with him to Carnegie Hall that night where he was going to record Stevie Ray Vaughan live. I remember the excitement in his voice still to this day. I was just excited and honored that he asked me to go with him. I was extremely flattered and honored.

I told Mr. Hammond I would love to go and he told me to meet him at the back entrance. He told me that he would be at the mobile recording unit outside of the back stage entrance and to look for a large truck or van.

I met Mr. Hammond there. As soon as we entered through the backstage door Mr. Hammond was swarmed by reporters attempting to ask him questions mostly about his health because he was recently released from the hospital. Mr. Hammond wasn't concerned with answering questions about himself. I stood back and watched. He was surrounded by reporters all talking to him all at once.  I could feel his excitement, I could feel his adrenalin flowing, and I knew his intentions were not to talk about himself but to record Stevie Ray Vaughan yet I could see him trying to slow himself down so as to be polite to the reporters like a Jockey on a racehorse trying to slow the horse down after a race.

Mr. Hammond spoke to the reporters for a short while, then tried to make an exit but they wouldn't let him go. The reporters kept asking him questions.

From my recollection Mr. Hammond's reaction  to their questions could only be best described as reminiscent of a tv newsperson flashing a microphone in a politicians face who was caught in a scandal as he walked out of the court room, although Mr. Hammond was not in that position. It was just the look on his face that resembled the notion of that similar situation I described. It appeared to me that all Mr. Hammond wanted to say to the reporters was "Are you kidding Stevie Ray Vaughan's on the stage and he's getting ready to play".

Mr. Hammond then said to the reporter something to the effect and very politely "Now if you'll excuse me I'll go record this concert" He was seventy three or seventy four years old then, he was just out of the hospital, yet he continuously walked on to the stage to check the microphones, then out the backstage door, down some shakey metal steps, back up some more shakey metal steps to the mobile recording truck to check the recording levels and then back again.

It was like he was on a tight rope, or a high wire. I thought he was going to fall a couple times as he lost his balance. I stayed as close to him as I could in case he fell. I could tell he didn't have all his strength and still wasn't fully recovered from his heart attack.

I was think to myself the doctors released him to soon but his energy came from his ambition and it reminded me of my audition with him after not sleeping for three nights before the audition. It was a similar situation although I was around thirty years old when I auditioned for him and he was in his seventies. It was a great concert.

Doctor John was playing piano that night with Stevie. Mr. Hammond accomplished what he was trying to achieved that night and parts of the concert were released on a live Stevie Ray Vaughan CD.

Not long after the live recording of Stevie Ray Vaughan at Carnegie Hall was recorded Mr. Hammond died. at his home in New York. The article in the newspaper stated that Mr. Hammond died at home while listening to a Billy Holiday record.  ##

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