Hammond Moments - Page 2

The Beatles: Your Mother Should Know (Lennon/McCartney).
© 1967. On Magical Mystery Tour double EP (UK) or LP (US).

Another track from the MMT record. This bridge shows Paul McCartney's talent for blending various instruments together - in this instance Hammond organ and piano. (36k)


The Beatles: Let it Be (Lennon/McCartney).
© 1969/70. Officially first issued on single in March 1970. Also on LP 'Let it Be' released May 8 1970. This version however, is from bootleg CD 'Get Back, and 22 other songs', Yellow Dog Records.
Produced by George Martin and Glyhn Johns.

A speciality here. The famous story about the last Beatles album that was never released and the re-vamped by Phil Spector, is known to many - and I won't repeat it here. This particular version is from the first attempt of making an album of the infamous January '69 sessions. The track is re-mixed by Glyhn Johns at Olympic Studios, London. This was before the taping of various overdubs done early 1970 prior to the song's single release. Billy Preston's organ is thus more prominent here - not having to compete with strings, brass and backing vocals. His gospel feel is magnificent and the atmosphere is quite different from the Phil Spector version on the album. (BTW I cheated a little and 'panned' the track before converting it to mono as to give the channel with the organ more weight). For the trivia lovers, the line-up for this (live-) take was: Paul McCartney, grand piano and lead vocal; John Lennon, Fender Precision 6-string bass and backing vocal; George Harrison, lead guitar (through Leslie); Ringo Starr, drums; Billy Preston, Hammond organ. (72k)


Deep Purple:Speedking.
©1970 EMI/Harvest. From the Deep Purple In Rock album.
Produced by Deep Purple.

The In Rock album was the album that meant the break-through for Deep Purple. Here is from its opening track Speedking a Jon Lord/Ritchie Blackmore chase. The organ is without Leslie as were many of the organ parts on this album - and all of them on the following DP albums. The piece showcases Jon Lords very fast playing technique as well as his classical inspiration. (103k)


Ringo Starr: Oh My My.(V. Poncia-R. Starkey)
©1973 Apple Corps. From Ringo (Apple PCTC 252).
Produced by Richard Perry.

Ringo Starr released two albums in the early 70s sharing the same concept. Ringo in 1973 and Goodnight Vienna in 1974. The first was by far the most successful. Both records employed the same features: As many stars as possible, as many ex-Beatles as possible and an overall commercial pop sound. The Ringo album features all the other three Beatles but only three at most would perform together on the same track (the opening track "I'm the greatest").
"Oh My My" features only one of them: Ringo himself. The Hammond (and piano) part is played by none other than Billy Preston. Gotta put on them disco boots! (69k)


Billy Preston: That's The Way God Planned It (Billy Preston)
©1971 Apple Records - The Concert For Bangla Desh

Another Beatles-related recording. This is Billy Preston's brief organ solo from his own gospel inspired song recorded live in Madison Square Garden, New York City, in August 1971. Among the backing band members were Ringo Starr on drums, Eric Clapton on guitar, as well as George Harrison, the arranger of the Bangla Desh concert. Click here to listen to the song's intro - with chorus vibrato.


Santana: Soul Sacrifice (Santana/Rolie/Malone/Brown)
©1969 Columbia records. Originally on the Woodstock album (Cotillion SD3-500) released July 1970.

Gregg Rolie's legendary solo from the Woodstock festival in 1969.


Santana: Fried Neckbones
(W. Bobo/M. Lastie/W. Correa)
©1969/98 Columbia records. On the collectors's edtition of the first Santana album.

This track features some of the most bad-a** Hammond sound you can imagine. It is Santana's encore from their Woodstock performance however, I can understand why the song didn't make neither the record nor the movie as the vocals from Gregg Rolie and Carlos are somewhat mediocre. From the introduction it seems that Gregg flicked the RUN switch on his B-3 right after the end of 'Soul Sacrifice' (the last 'planned' number) not expecting an encore, so he had to turn on the organ again.


Santana: Evil Ways
©1969/98 Columbia records. On the collectors's edtition of the first Santana album.

Gregg Rolie on the first Santana album and thier first hit. Listen to the change from non-percussion to percussion in the second or third bar. The sound shows Gregg's inspiration from Jimmy Smith very clearly - it seems like he is using the famous Jimmy Smith sound (DB 888000000, C3 chorus/vibrato, percussion ON, SOFT, FAST, 3rd). Unlike many of Gregg's tracks from that record, the Leslie is used on the slow speed (that's what I think anyway).


Santana: Se A Cabo
(J. Areas)
©1970 Columbia records. Taken from the collector's edition (1998) of the 1970 album Abraxas.

There are just so many good Hammond sounds on the first two Santana albums that it's kinda hard for me to stop putting clips here. Anyway, this is one of the instances where Gregg uses the stopped Leslie (brake) sound in conjunction with Hammond vibrato/chorus. The track is written by the group's conga player Josť 'Chepito' Areas.


Jimmy Smith: The Sermon (J. Smith)
©1958 and 1987 Blue Note. CDP 7 46097 2.

Ok folks, now it is time for the master player himself: The Incredible Jimmy Smith. This is the title track of the famous album originally released in 1958 on Blue Note. To make a long story short: The two albums by J.S. of that time 'House Party' and 'The Sermon' were  drawn from two sessions namely on August 25, 1957 and February 25, 1958 where Jimmy Smith played with an all-star band featuring top names such as Lee Morgan on trumpet, Curtis Fuller on trombone and Kenny Burrell on guitar. The CD releases from the two sessions are ordered by date and hence, the titles on the CD versions differ from the old LPs. Anyway this is great stuff with an incredible sound done by none other than the legendary Rudy Van Gelder. If you click here you can hear the ride-out theme by Jimmy after he has played organ and left-hand bass for twenty minutes. Dang!


Richard Groove Holmes: Just Friends
(Klenner-Lewis) ©1968. From: Legends of Acid Jazz, Richard Groove Holmes. Prestige PRCD-24187-2.

It has been said that in jazz organ there is Jimmy Smith and then the rest. It has also been said that there were Jimmy Smith, Groove Holmes and then the rest. Legend has it that Groove Holmes recognised Jimmy Smith's leading role but that he knew too that he was good himself. Groove was, like Smith, from Philadelphia, a town that had many famous musicians coming from it over the years. Groove Holmes' style was different from that of Jimmy Smith although many similarities do exist. His sound was very innovative and he is often associated with a certain drawbar setting, 888000008, that he used with or without chorus vibrato. I myself have found Groove to be less blues-inflenced and a little jollier or happier sounding than Smith - even though Groove could certainly play a nice blues. This first example is recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio in 1968. To my knowledge Groove is playing the studio C-3 with the 21H/30W Leslie cabinet. Click here for a bit of the solo and try and listen to see if you can hear when Groove puts the Leslie from 'stop' to 'tremolo'.


The Rolling Stones: I Got The Blues
©1971 From: Sticky Fingers, Rolling Stones Records

Ok, so the organ is not played by one of the Stones themselves, but by Billy Preston. Billy's brief encounter with The Beatles on the Get Back/Let It Be sessions suddenly made him a hot item both in Britain and his native America. In 1970/71 he played on a number of famous records - Sticky Fingers being one of them. Listen for the subtle interaction between Preston and Jagger, truly blues and gospel style.


Al Kopper & Mike Bloomfield: Albert's Shuffle (Kooper-Bloomfield)
©1968/2003 From: Super Session, Sony/Columbia Legacy series (CD) CK 63406 (original LP: Columbia 9701)

Al Kooper is not only known for his extensive solo career spanning from the late 60's until today (and Al is still doing fine - check out www.alkooper.com), but also for being producer, composer and of course sideman to some of the greatest acts in rock'n roll. Kooper's organ part in Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone from 1965 and his contribution to the 1969 Rolling Stones single You Can't Always Get What You Want are fine examples of his tasteful playing. Al was co-founder of the original incarnation of Blood, Sweat and Tears and played on the group's first album.

This clip is from the album Super Session that Al arranged, recorded and produced in 1968 with guitar legend Mike Bloomfield. The sound presented here is actually from a special remix of the original album track where the overdubbed brass has been removed - giving more prominence to the organ.


Al Kopper & Mike Bloomfield: Really (Kooper-Bloomfield)
©1968/2003 From: Super Session, Sony/Columbia Legacy series (CD) CK 63406 (original LP: Columbia 9701)

In the previous clip we listened to Al Kooper playing a solo. This clip showcases his comping - very tasteful. I fiddled a bit with the sound balance to give the organ more volume - I apologize to the Bloomfield fans out there. I can highly recommend this CD - lots of great guitar and organ.



This page was last updated: 12.14.07