Absolutely superb...blues singer and guitar player particularly noted for his melodic single-string slide guitar playing that was very influential.
The Down Home Guide to the Blues.
Above all, however, he was a remarkable guitarist both in the conventional picking approach... and in the bottleneck idiom (Black Angel Blues, I'm Getting Tired, and Crying Won't Help You). His slide work on these is simply masterful--delicate, smooth, perfectly controlled, full of sustained invention...These three selections may well be among the most interesting, creative and, possibly, important bottleneck performances of the postwar period.
Pete Welding, liner notes of "Masters of the Modern Blues: Robert Nighthawk and Houston Stackhouse" (Testament 5010)
Robert Nighthawk fused the homespun Delta intensity of Houston Stackhouse with the more deliberate artfulness of Tampa Red to achieve a most potent and narcotic synthesis--one that was to affect the work of many of the most talented players that were to follow.
All Music Guide to the Blues (under "Slide Guitar")
Robert Palmer describes Nighthawk's notes as "dripping slowly out of the amplifier like thick, oozing oil" (Deep Blues), And so they seemed--each one somehow leaving its own indelible design and coloring--simply unforgettable....
It was [at Chess] that Nighthawk recorded his masterpiece Sweet Black Angel, one of the most magnificent works of electric slide playing--and perhaps of all recorded blues.
All Music Guide to the Blues (under "Focus on the slide guitar")
A true master of the slide guitar....
All Music Guide to the Blues (under "Robert Nighthawk")
Robert Nighthawk was one of the great blues slide guitarists. His slashing slide style, which was deeply based in Delta blues, influenced Elmore James and Earl Hooker, among other post-World War II guitarists, and kept alive the emotional richness and intensity so central to the country blues slide tradition.
The Big Book of the Blues
[Nighthawk had a] dexterous slide technique...[and left] behind a small but pivotal body of work.
The Guinness Who's Who of Blue
My own choice for the most unjustly neglected Chicago bluesman is Robert Nighthawk, a.k.a Robert McCoy [or McCullum], the guitarist from Arkansas who wound up influencing both Elmore James and Earl Hooker, though he himself started off as a harmonica player....
Francis Davis in The History of the Blues, Hyperion, 1995
Nobody else could play a slide like him. They think they can but they can't. Muddy had a 'smuddy' slide, I call it. I ain't never heard anybody play a slide like Robert Nighthawk. It's wailin' man.
Pianist Pinetop Perkins. From an interview (original source not indicated) on the enhanced CD portion of Telarc's recent Pinetop Perkins release "Born in the Delta" (Telarc 83418)
Charlie Musselwhite talks about Robert Nighthawk