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the Pale

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Ian McLagan and the Hammond Organ

(He urged MF to buy his first Hammond!)

Joan May sends BtP these McLagan Hammond pieces:

From Mike Ober's 1992 book Then Play On:

When did you actually start playing the Hammond organ regularly?

I played it a bit when Peter Jay and the Jay Walkers were playing gigs with the New Vaudeville Band and Small Faces and they let me use their Hammond. Ian McLagan of the Small Faces talked me into investing my money to acquire one, telling me that "with a Hammond you'd always get work because there were people buying Hammonds who couldn't fucking play them and they were getting work and if you can play you'll definitely get work!" And he was right.

[See here for Gary Brooker's comments on the Small Faces]

From article and interview with Ian McLagan in Discoveries Magazine; by Chris Nickson, August 1999, p.42:

He's still every bit as much in love with the Hammond organ as he was in 1962.

"Someone was telling me about a new instrument, but I haven't tried it yet, so the jury is still out. They come by every year ... 'Better than the Hammond, ' 'As good as the Hammond,' but it's not going to happen although I wish it would. The replacements for the Hammond all sound puny to me even Hammond can't do it. Roland, they've all tried, but I've never heard anything that sounds like it. If they could just come out with something 200 pounds lighter, that you could lift. I used to go to the NAMM (National Association of Music Manufacturers) show in LA all the time. I went to the Hammond booth, and a geezer was playing. I said, "Excuse me," and lifted it up my first test!"

From All the Rage by Ian 'Mac' McLagan, 1998:

From Chapter One, entitled Green Onions page 3 (the book's opening words):

"It's September 1995 and I'm on my way home to Austin from Bangkok. Breaking the journey in Los Angeles, I spot an ad for an organ in the Classifieds. It's a 1954 Hammond B2. I can't resist this little gem, so I buy it sight unseen and arrange to have it collected, crated and trucked to Texas.

Sometimes, a smell can trigger a memory so strong and true it unravels years in an instant, like the smell of a pub at opening time, or a whiff of oil paint, which takes me straight back to my art school days in Twickenham. So, as they unbolt the crate, even before I get to see how beautiful this instrument is, the combination of furniture polish and Hammond oil wafts up my nose and I get a flash-back to 1964, when I caught that odd mixture for the first time.

Ever since I heard Green Onions by Booker T & The MGs on the radio, the sound of a Hammond organ has moved me. Although at the time I didn't know exactly what Booker T was playing, I knew I wanted to make that noise. I didn't even know how to play an organ, but the way it swirled and swam and bit your ears off, I knew somehow I had to have one.

Later, after seeing Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames at the Flamingo, I found out Georgie played a Hammond L100, and he made it sing just like Booker T ..."

From Chapter 37, page 383 (the last page of the book)

I'd always known Rod [Stewart] had my old Faces B3 stashed away somewhere, and in early 1998, twenty-two years after the Faces broke up, I finally convinced him to give it back to me. Naturally I had to foot the bill for shipping it from California to Texas, but when it arrived and that combination of furniture polish and Hammond oil wafted up my nose, I got a flashback to 1964, when I caught that odd mixture for the first time. Wait a minute, this is where I came in!"

[end of book]

Matthew Fisher's BtP page A page of Hammond organ links

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