Music Featuring Hammond Organs
April 11, 2005 3:43 PM   Subscribe

I love any music that uses a Hammond Organ, whether it's 70s rock, gospel, jazz, whatever. The sound of it just makes me happy. There are some obvious artists that come to mind: Medeski, Deep Purple, the Doors, but I want MORE! The closest thing I've found so far is on All Music, there is a list of artist who use the organ, but it's mostly classical and jazz. I'd like a list that includes rock artists, too. Any suggestions for artists I'm missing or links that would help me to expand my listening options?
posted by abbyladybug to Media & Arts (39 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Melvin Seals of the Jerry Garcia Band played a mean Hammond B3... he joined the band in the late-70s, so any recordings of the JGB up until 1995 (obviously) will have him.
posted by docgonzo at 3:46 PM on April 11, 2005

Selected tracks by Blood, Sweat & Tears, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Rick Wakeman and early Yes come to mind.
posted by ericb at 3:50 PM on April 11, 2005

Booker T. and the M.G.'s. Green Onions is a B3 classic.
posted by xil at 3:52 PM on April 11, 2005

Yo La Tengo.
posted by matildaben at 3:53 PM on April 11, 2005

Jimmy Smith.
Jimmy Smith.
Jimmy Smith.
posted by bricoleur at 3:56 PM on April 11, 2005

Starflyer 59 peppers many of their songs with the Hammond. Here's a review which mentions it specifically in reference to one of their better albums.
posted by udeups at 3:56 PM on April 11, 2005

Gregg Allman
? and the Mysterians
posted by stevil at 4:15 PM on April 11, 2005

Two-tone ska in many forms such as The Selecter, the Specials. Some Jamaican ska as well.
posted by trey at 4:20 PM on April 11, 2005

Jackie Mittoo.
Jackie Mittoo.
Jackie Mittoo.

(Not an argument, bricoleur: Smith is the king; but an homage: Mittoo sits right by his throne.)
posted by Dr. Wu at 4:23 PM on April 11, 2005

Brian Auger
posted by mischief at 4:26 PM on April 11, 2005

The Charlatans. Nearly 15 years on and I still adore their first single, "The Only One I Know" (verrrry heavy on the gronk-gronky organ sound, courtesy of the doomed Rob Collins) and in fact still have rather a soft spot for their first two albums in general.
posted by scody at 4:32 PM on April 11, 2005

Time Is Tight (buy the whole box).
posted by timeistight at 4:52 PM on April 11, 2005

The Lyres .. most of the albums are available.
posted by stuartmm at 5:08 PM on April 11, 2005

Second the Charlatans. Bloody hell, was it really 15 years ago? Also the Inspiral Carpets used a lot of Hammond - you should have a listen to Saturn 5; beautiful organ work. Heh.

A lot of Dylan's earlier stuff had H in it too - I Want You and Positively 4th Street spring immediately to mind.

I honestly can't think of a song that couldn't be improved by the addition of some Hammond. Excellent question!
posted by blag at 5:09 PM on April 11, 2005

Oh, and of course Georgie Fame! (You may already be well aware of him, since you mention jazz. There's also a series called "Mod Jazz" put out by Kent Records that has some great keyboard-flavored gems.) And of course, I can't believe I forgot the awesome, awesome original modfathers of cool, The Small Faces, featuring Ian McLagan on keyboards. (Fun Small Faces/Who-related trivia that only I care about: Ian McLagan is married to Keith Moon's widow, and Kenny Jones of the Small Faces replaced Moon in the Who after Moon died.)
posted by scody at 5:22 PM on April 11, 2005

A lot of awesome recommendations here. The great thing about the Hammond B3 is there is hardly a western popular musical genre around that hasn't benefitted from it. With that in mind, here's my short list separated by category. Most of them crossed genres often, but these categories describe what each artist was best known for:

- Jimmy Smith
- Jack McDuff
- Joey DeFrancesco
- Larry Young
- Jimmy McGriff

- Booker T
- Groove Holmes (The Beastie Boys used him on "Check Your Head" - they named the song after him on the album)
- Bobby Byrd (c/o James Brown)

- Greg Rolie (Santana - 1960s)
- Keith Emerson
- Billy Preston (THE studio organ guy - played with everybody - Ray Charles, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc. )
- Greg Allman
- Stevie Winwood (not a fan, but the guy can play)

- Jackie Mittoo
- Earl "Wya" Lindo (The Wailers, although Peter Tosh sat in for early recordings)

Possibly the most famous song ever to feature the B3 was Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale," with Gary Brooker's piercing, over-driven, reverb-drenched melody. I've been playing the B3 for 10 years and everytime I play this lick while warming up, people pay attention.

(As a matter of record, The Doors didn't use a Hammond B3 - Ray Manzarek, The Doors' keyboard player, used a Vox Continental.)
posted by kidhuevos at 5:25 PM on April 11, 2005 [1 favorite]

Al Kooper generally played organ in Dylan's work and was in Blood, Sweat and Tears. Here is his discography, he's played with everybody and it's all good.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 5:53 PM on April 11, 2005

The James Taylor Quartet's earlier stuff (late eighties, early nineties) is packed full of great Hammond stuff.
posted by bunglin jones at 6:03 PM on April 11, 2005

I'll second Yes. There's an organ solo late in "Close to the Edge" that will melt your face.
posted by saladin at 6:36 PM on April 11, 2005

I know it's very pedestrian, perhaps due to overexposure, but I was thirteen , Boston's debut changed my life. "Smokin'" has organ that can STILL make a 41-year-old look silly, but very happy playing air-organ in my car.

ObDerail: any of you ever see 'em live? Did that organ sound as good?

Also pedestrian, I guess by today's standards, but Kansas' "Leftoverture" had some great organ on some of the tracks.
posted by OneOliveShort at 7:34 PM on April 11, 2005

The Upsetters are another one in the roots reggae vein
posted by guyincognito at 7:36 PM on April 11, 2005

Oh, and Southern Culture on the Skids make pretty good use of the B3 on their albums "Plastic Seat Sweat" and "Liquored Up and Lacquered Down."

For current, garagey, punky stuff, check out The Forty-Fives, who have a crazy-ass organist. Great live band, too.
posted by Dr. Wu at 7:38 PM on April 11, 2005

Howard Wales
posted by Lynsey at 7:57 PM on April 11, 2005

I recently found Deep Purple's "Made In Japan" on CD in a Virgin outlet for $7.50. Great price for a double album packed on a single disk. I know you already mentioned them, but this live album is one of their best (especially the 6-minute drum solo on The Mule, but we're supposed to be talking organs...)
posted by Doohickie at 8:06 PM on April 11, 2005

I have to recommend the fabulous Alan Hawkshaw (thanks to sciatica). Mo'Hawk is where I'd start.
posted by biscotti at 8:19 PM on April 11, 2005

John Medeski of Medeski, Martin & Wood.

Mark Benevento of Benevento Russo Duo. I haven't had a chance to see these guys live, but a friend of mine has a guitar duo project that has opened up for Benevento Russo a few times during recent shows in the northeast US, and that's how I found out about them.

And of course The Band. (Not the official site, if there actually is one, but looks to be an informative fan site anyway.)
posted by emelenjr at 8:29 PM on April 11, 2005

posted by garethspor at 8:38 PM on April 11, 2005

Let me join the chorus of people saying Jimmy Smith, Jackie Mittoo and The Band. Also: Charles Earland, and, in rock, Brian Auger.
posted by box at 8:39 PM on April 11, 2005

Bunglin Jones is spot-on re: JTQ -- The Money Spyder is especially cool.
posted by scody at 8:43 PM on April 11, 2005

I don't think he's been mentioned enough times:
jimmy smith.

analogy time:
glen velez is to the frame drum as jimmy smith is to the...that's right, the hammond.
posted by juv3nal at 8:52 PM on April 11, 2005

I forgot: Uriah Heep!
posted by Doohickie at 8:54 PM on April 11, 2005

In the spirit of MMW, try Righteous Buddha - good sheet.
posted by brheavy at 9:41 PM on April 11, 2005

Al Kooper, with Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills did an album called Super Session that kicked ass, with Kooper doing some pretty fine Hammond work throughout it all. You can read about it here.
posted by ashbury at 10:10 PM on April 11, 2005

Not exactly what you're asking for, but you might get a kick out of it anyway:
Charlie Hunter often (if not always) plays an 8 string guitar through a combination of effects pedals that make it sound more than a little like a B-3. Jazz guitar, but he's also got more jammy stuff floating around too.
posted by hototogisu at 11:02 PM on April 11, 2005

A band out of DC - The Apes. Unlike a lot of the suggestions, a newish band, and one you might be able to catch on tour.
posted by ubersturm at 8:38 AM on April 12, 2005

Are you still reading this, Abby? Here's two that were missed, both Hammond and drum duos:

Sagor & Swing
Attila (featuring Billy Joel. Yes, the Billy Joel)

Also, I have around 50 LPs from the 60s featuring popular chart hits of the day played on the Hammond. You can pick them up in any charity shop/thrift store in the world for less than the price of a can of beans. Of particular interest to you will be Harry Stoneham, James Last's Hammond-a-go-go series, and Klaus Wunderlich.
posted by nylon at 11:50 AM on April 12, 2005

Sixties/seventies jazzy vocal stuff: The Peddlers
posted by modofo at 12:01 PM on April 12, 2005

Don't know if you'll look back at this - I found your post googling a similar question. You've gotten some obvious and not so obvious answers - here's a few more:

Newish Rock and Rock-like:
*Darediablo - instrumental ROCK from NYC
*Mike Watt (yes, the punk guy!) and the Secondmen (that's not a typo
*Bigger than a Breadbox - looks like a jazz trio but it rocks.
(full disclaimer, Breadbox is my band - I got permission to mention this...I'm the organist. We've gotten great reviews and we have some ardent fans, but we're kinda in the cracks and genre busting bands are hard to find on the internet)
*Casualties of Jazz

Most old school R&B and blues will feed you some Hammond - especially:
The Meters
Al Green
Sly and the Family Stone
Ray Charles - "Genius+Soul=Jazz" with RAY playing!!!

If you dig progressive rock you'll find tons of Hammond there:
Gentle Giant

Tower of Power
Little Feat - (not really funk, but very Funky!)

EARLY Bruce Springsteen - listen to Danny Federici tear it up on Rosalita
EARLY Tom Petty - Benmont Tench...great sideman

I could go on....and on...and on...
posted by organguy at 12:31 PM on February 6, 2006

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