Sunday, January 3, 2016

John Malveaux: How The Hammond Organ Sound Laid The Tracks For Gospel's Hit Train

Hammond Organ

John Malveaux of 
forwards a link from 
National Public Radio::

Published January 3, 2016

The sound of the Hammond organ was invented for churches as an alternative to pipe organs. But it's distinctive sound became crucial to the development of a new kind of music: gospel.

Comment by email:
Hi William,  Happy New Year!  Interesting link but I felt that I needed to put in a quick one on the ‘Hammond’. Firstly, I can confirm that the ‘Tonewheel’ (i.e. the ‘real’ Hammond sound organs) are an expensive ‘bitch’ to mend when they go wrong. The later solid state ones generally end up being scrapped unless they have a working ‘Leslie’. Much as I love great big pipe organs, I also have a soft spot for the ‘Hammond’ sound which (in my view) has not yet been properly recreated by modern electronics.

Secondly, some readers may be aware of the Hammond v Skinner case over false claims... this may well have had some effect on getting instruments into churches.

Finally, we must mention two great names that possibly contributed to the success of the crossover of the music of secular and the Christian churches. These people were Fats Waller and Fela Sowande who were pioneers. Both had made recordings using Hammond organs made in the 1930’s and you can hear from these some elements of styles that influenced church organists in establishments that sang gospel music.  Kind regards Mike [Michael S. Wright]

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