Wicked Grin - John Hammond

Universal acclaim - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Choosing from a wide variety of Waits' material, Hammond infuses these unusual tracks with a bluesman's spirit and a crackling energy that practically reinvents the songs, instilling them with an ominous, rhythmic swampy feel.
  2. Wicked Grin is a bona fide revelation.... A rambunctious joy from beginning to end.
  3. His album of Waits' penned-and-produced songs may be the masterwork of Hammond's long career, as well as further testament to Waits' unique genius.
  4. A near-perfect mix of two sympathetic talents operating in top form.
  5. In Hammond, [Waits] has found a worthy collaborator, one who gets to the heart of what these strange lyrics are actually about and imbues their sharp angles, acute observations and nicotine-stained introspection with some real insight and understanding.
  6. 90
    Wicked Grin is a rousingly successful experiment. The album's best moments equal -- and often surpass -- anything in both artists' consistently creative careers.
  7. Hammond's vocal, minus Waits's affected (and annoying) growl, puts the emphasis where it belongs--on the songs. The effect is to make peculiar vistas like "Jockey Full Of Bourbon" and "Murder In The Red Barn" even more vivid and the tunes truly sound like artifacts from another era.
  8. The collaboration ultimately benefits both players, adding a touch of art house abandon to Hammond's at times studied formalism, and authenticity to Waits' Martian grease-monkey blues.
  9. As expressive as Hammond's guitar work is on signature songs like "Heartattack and Vine," it still has a sweet sound, and that, too, is mostly a new context for Waits' songs. The horror and the hardness is less immediate, slightly more mannered.
  10. 70
    The material is perfectly suited to Hammond's subtle syncopation and sauntering vocals. The warmth of the recording makes it seem all the more like listening to a master storyteller sharing tales that have been passed down through generations.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Jan 31, 2012
    Just finished listening to Wicked Grin for the first time, and I have to say it is a very solid album from start to finish. Pretty much every song was a joy to hear, although there was one track towards the middle that seemed like it started out a bit off, but even that was a minor hiccup. Full Review »
  2. KaceyE.
    Sep 17, 2002
    If I could give it a 9.5 I would. This album embodies the best of John Hammond and Tom Waits. The only reason I'm not giving it a 10 is because I'm holding out hope that they get together to produce another album again. Full Review »
  3. CarlM.
    Mar 11, 2002
    Damn Decent