Monday, July 20, 2015

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 1966, and the inexplicably obscure Wildest Organ in Town elpee (produced by a pre-fame Sly Stone), please enjoy Billy Preston and "Advice."

And yes, this is a warm-up for Sly's "I Wanna Take You Higher." Most of the rest of the album is cover versions of recent hits, but a few of the tunes are early Sly originals.

In any case, pretty cool stuff.

[h/t Dave™]


FD13NYC said...

Yes, very cool stuff!

buzzbabyjesus said...

For most of my life I only tolerated organs. I used "Gee Dad, it's a Wurlitzer" to make fun of Bob Dylan records.
I'm in a band with too many guitar players so about 18 months ago I pushed an old Hammond, which was buried under stuff, into the middle of the room and started playing it.
In June I found a beautiful 1966 M-111, which wasn't working and headed for the trash. I knew that probably all it needed was to be oiled and played, which turned out to be the case. It took about 15 minutes to get it working. It's a later version of the M 100 series that Morgan Fischer used on "A Whiter Shade of Pale", and also the model abused by Keith Emerson. It has spring stereo reverb, and all it's original tubes. What a beast.

Before, I wouldn't even have listened to anything featuring organ, but now that I play one, I hear it, especially Hammonds, everywhere.
I think Billy is playing some other brand, maybe a Wurlitzer.
I used to have an attitude about organs in general, now I'm just a Hammond snob.

buzzbabyjesus said...

Correction: Further research reveals the keyboard on the cover to be a Hammond A-100.

buzzbabyjesus said...

Or even a B3.

steve simels said...

Matthew Fisher on "Whiter Shade of Pale" and most of the great Procol stuff.

Morgan Fisher was in the late version of Mott the Hoople...

buzzbabyjesus said...

My Bad. AGAIN. Until just now, I thought they were the same guy. Who can tell organ players apart?

steve simels said...

"Organ Leroy, at his organ again."

Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

What I know about organs, you could fit in a thimble. But I do know this: Billy Preston's organ solo on the Stones' I Got the Blues is truly badass. What I love is that there's a lot of space in the first few bars of this solo, then some slurs, then a glissando, triplets...heaven. Or hell, come to think of it. I've always thought that it kinda sounds like a transcribed sax solo.


steve simels said...

RichD --

I love that solo too.

steve simels said...

BTW, here's a download link for the Stones doing STICKY FINGERS in its entirety at a small theater earlier this summer.

It's jawdroppingly great, and the version of "I Got the Blues" is one of the highlights.

Anonymous said...

I never had a problem with organs. I mean, shit, the Happy Organ, Green Onions, man. All that Stax shit. Sir Douglas Quintet, 96 Tears, Procol Harum, Chest Fever, the list is endless. Fuckin' Jimmy Smith. Anytime I went in a music store I was all over the organs. My mom had me take piano lessons from the time of "Teaching Little Fingers To Play," which in retrospect, sounds kind of obscene. I did the recitals, the whole trip. My teacher loved me. We also had an old fashioned pump organ. I loved that thing. Such a unique sound. Plus I was an avid roller skater so, well, you know what they played in the rinks back then. I still am a kick-ass roller skater.

Billy Preston and the Knickerbockers used to play P.J.'s (later the Starwood) circa '65-'66 after Trini Lopez got done with his long run. And he was ever present on Shindig. This single was produced by one of the lesser known members of the Wrecking Crew, sax man Steve Douglas. Sly and Billy threw a little "Louie Louie" in this number too. Billy had the gospel thing down. The first time I saw him live was in 1968 - twice. He opened for, and played in, Ray Charles' backing band. These were great shows at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino and the Royal Tahitian in Ontario National Golf Course. Seen him many times since (with the Stones in 1973 and 1975), god rest his dynamic and perverted soul.

Speaking of Mott the Hoople, Blue Weaver did some cool stuff as Wynder K. Frog.


Mark said...

Bedises Procol Harum, the Band, Sir Douglas and others mentioned by Vickie, what other rock bands used Hammonds? Didn't Goldy McJohn play a Hammond in the first iteration of Steppenwolf? What did Lee Michaels play? And boy was I relieved to see Michaels play guitar -- for the most part -- the only time I saw him in Central Park in 1972 or 1973. And Steve Knight in Mountain?

Growing up in far Eastern Long Island, I associated the Hammond sound with Jimmy Smith, whose Blue Note albums were the wallpaper music at my local indoor roller skating rink, which was played wallpaper-rattlingly loud. Only I, at ten, in 1961, didn't know who Jimmy Smith was, though the rink owner told me that this type of music was "jazz." I found out a year or so later later who Jimmy Smith was when I came home after school and my father, a cake baker who owned the only bakery in town (Riverhead), was playing Jimmy Smith on our RCA or Sears-brand console radio-record player. He didn't know who Jimmy Smith was either, but he found a Jimmy Smith album whose cover he liked, and bought it. I recognized the sound, and then discovered Jimmy Smith.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Lee Michaels was seriously loud. I saw him and Frosty a few times, a couple of which they opened for Creedence. The guy was big enough in California to eventually headline the Forum in the early Seventies. Mark, when you saw Lee in Central Park did Terry Reid open?

The Doors of course though they never a B-3, Jon Lord, got to love DP's take on "Hush", Garth Hudson. And Gregg Allman's lazy left hand B-3 with the ABB.

I recall being in the back seat of a car at a drive-in double feature of "Holy Rollers" and "The Dirt Gang." It was a rainy night and only about four cars were in the lot. My guy and me cranked up the stereo and did it to the fourth program of the All the Young Dudes 8-Track, played on repeat. "One of the Boys" and "Soft Ground." Soft Ground indeed - those swirling keyboards and echoed fuzzed out guitar. Thanks Verden for the pervasive penetration. After we had our fill of that we broke for a couple of Right Times and a doobie. Then I cued up #1 Record in the tape machine. I found the perfect way to turn my boyfriend on to Big Star. After that it was Smokin' O.P.'s. Turn On Your Lovelight. I have no clue what the movies were about, although one involved a roller derby and titties and the other involved a biker gang and titties. Maybe they're cult classics now. Maybe not. All's I know is that we ended up fucking again in the rain on the incline of his trunk and rear window. It was a first date we'll never forget.

So yeah, I dig the organ.


Peter Power Pop said...

Here in Australia we have Barry Morgan from the World of Organs.

As far as I'm concerned, he's the king of the organs.

Play it, Barry!

Mark said...

@VR - Yes, Terry Reid played on the same bill with Lee Michaels, but Michaels opened and NOT Terry Reid, and while I was a huge Reid fan, and still am, he was less the over-the-top rockers and becoming the more circumspect blueser he is today at that particular show. Still, it was a dream to see him. And Lee Michaels was a snoozefest that was almost unintentionally funny.

Here's my program from Schaefer's Central Park Concert 1973 series and the shows I saw that year ( and The second of the two links has the bands and dates. Check marks indicate the ones I saw.

And BTW, I'm going to see Courtney Barnett at Terminal 5 on Wednesday with two snoozer openers, Torres (who's OK) and Speedy Ortiz, a band I just don't get. But Courtney I do.

buzzbabyjesus said...

The vintage Hammond used tone wheels. This technology goes back to the early 20th Century, and the Telharmonium, the first totally electronic instrument. Mark Twain thought it sounded pretty good when he heard it over his telephone, the first home installation in the United States.
The Telharmonium story is pretty incredible. Because it was first built before vacuum tubes or amplification, it originally weighed 200 tons!

Here is the wiki page:

Anyway, I don't know what technology other organs used, but the Hammond employed that original and was first marketed in 1935. They discontinued manufacturing in 1983. The "transistor" version didn't sell.

Alzo said...

What really seals the deal for the mighty B3: pairing it with a Leslie speaker.

cthulhu said...

Jesus Christ people, 15 or so posts in on the topic of rock organ players, and nobody has mentioned Steve Fucking Winwood?! What's wrong with this picture? :-)

In all seriousness, has there been anybody else as consistently good as a rock and roll organ player over the last 50 years than Steve Winwood? I'll admit that he got away from the glorious Hammond / Leslie combo for a while in the mid 80s, but even then he was doing some organ along with some pretty good other keys. Sure, everybody knows "Gimme Some Lovin" and "I'm a Man"; but stuff like his guest work on "Voodoo Chile", and the jaw-droppingly-good solo on Traffic's "Every Mother's Son" is as good as the mighty Hammond gets. Saw him last summer in a fairly small Left Coast venue; the only keyboard he played all night was the B-3. Tasty, tasty! (and some terrific guitar too, and That Voice...)

Anonymous said...

Mark: So Terry Reid headlined behind The River? Pretty unusual and in New York too. Recall who was in his band? Was Lindley there? Lee Michaels had hit the skids by 1973. Stuff like "Heighty Hi" got real old very fast. He was very limited. Personally I don't think he even gave a shit about music much by that time. He was on the treadmill. He had Mary Hughes waiting at home too. I'm sure that was a distraction.

I like his first two albums the best. They're kinda psych-ish. I love "Love" with Hamilton Wesley Watt on guitar. Had an early quickie threesome with Sandy and her boyfriend while the medley on Side One of his S/T third LP blasted from my parent's Advents - pounding Frosty drum solo and all. So, the memory in my parent's den on the newly laid shag rug's better than the album. It's still a nice trigger to pull on occasion. Afterwards the three of us did Indian war dances in the shower. The we piled into his GT6 (me under hatch window on the rear panel) and went to see Donovan at the Bowl.


Anonymous said...

RE: Winwood. Yeah he's got a lot of soul on keys. I'm sure he listened to alot of the guys mentioned earlier. His guitar work is economic and impactful too. The definition of less is more.

Saw him come into the Baked Potato in NoHo after his gig at the Universal Amphitheater. It was a Tuesday night and another couple, friends of mine, had just left. Winwood, his wife, Alfredo Reyes and some other manager-looking guy took the corner my friends had been sitting in. Winwood was sitting right next to me. Our legs were touching.

Tuesdays were jam nights at the club. Winwood's wife left to use the bathroom. He leaned over and ever so politely asked how the food was. Christ, they serve nothing but stuffed baked potatoes. I told him I had seen him at the Joint in Vegas a couple of weeks before with my grandmother. I told him my grandma thought he looked like a "very nice boy." For some reason that cracked him up. I told him he was good that night but too pre-planned and rehearsed. That didn't seem to bother him and he tried to explain why but he could see I wasn't buying it.

I said I liked it best when people were flying by the seat of their pants and truly improvising. I told him about the jam session at the Potato that night and asked if he was gonna play. He said no. Not interested. I told him that Spencer Davis had been in earlier that month and jammed with the high-end local musicians. His wife had returned during our conversation and seemed annoyed that Steve was talking to me. But I wasn't flirting. I could care less. Steve's a great musician but strikes me as a dreadfully boring Brit in the sack. That's the vibe I get anyway. He's kind of a serious fucker.

Anyway, the house band returned from their break. After hearing the band do a couple of numbers Steve was impressed. He asked me who the guitarist was. The bass player had spotted Steve and started playing the riff to Gimme Some Lovin'. The keyboard player motioned for Steve to take over. I whispered in his ear and begged him "come on man, what's the worst that could happen, there's only about 40 people in here." His wife gave me a dirty look as Steve reluctantly got up to play. I don't know her at all but she seemed like a fuckin' bitch. She also had spinach stuck to her teeth from the spinach and cheese baked potato she was eating in a very ravenous and unfeminine manner. Yecch.

Once on stage, Stevee had so much fun they played nearly 90 minutes. Lots of oldies and classics. I have a DAT of that show dated 1997-11-25. You can even hear me talking to Steve as the mics were attached to some sunglasses I wore up in my hair. A fantastic night of sloppy spontanaeity. Think I'll give it a spin on my Fostex.


Mark said...

@Cthulhu - Thank you for the reminder about Winwood. The sound he got on GIMME SOME LOVIN' was for me the first time I heard a Hammond as a rock instrument.

@VR - I couldn't tell you whether David Lindley appeared with Reid when I saw him in 1973. And I guess I never really got Kaleidoscope, or much of Lindley's stuff afterwards, much to my eternal dismay.

I blame myself.

Jonathan F. King said...

Alan Price, mostly in his Animals days, only occasionally thereafter. But do revisit his U.K. hit "I Put a Spell on You" (with the Alan Price Set) for a superb demonstration of his skills.

Peter Power Pop said...

In the interests of completeness, I'd like to mention Billy Joel and Attila, the psychedelic heavy metal organ/drum duo he was in that recorded one album in 1970. (Billy was the "organ" part of the duo.)

Behold the – well, maybe "glory" is too strong a word – the experience of Billy Joel attacking an organ:

Attila - Attila (1970) (full album)

Anonymous said...

Graham Bond deserves mention as well as Georgie Fame. Skip Knape kicked pretty good ass too. There are just soooo many. Especially if you get into prog.

Mark: Wow. You missed the Mott the Hoople show in Central Park! WTF. "Mott" tour was Mick's last Ralph. Oh the shame. Flog yourself. Saw Mott the Hoople open for West, Bruce and Laing at the Hollywood Palladium on the All the Young Dudes Tour. I went with the same guy who took me to that rainy drive-in a couple of weeks before. We were on a roll. He just came off a really prudish girlfriend who barely gave anything up. Needless to say, he had a lot of pent up energy. Poor guy.

I gave him the full palette. I had a baby grand in my bedroom at my parents' house. He used to love it when I played between flesh sessions. I turned that Deep Purple boy into a Bill Evans man. Gave him some smooth dancing lessons. I passed the exclusive on him to one of my other girlfriends when he was ready for some of her prime time. I moved on to another project but never burned any bridges.

But, damn, do I digress. Re: Kaleidoscope. Ubiquitous around these parts back then. You couldn't help seeing them if you wanted to or not. Lindley and Darrow still live in Claremont, after all these years. Local boys. All those weird stringed instruments David plays come out of the folk music center there. Perhaps too eclectic for their own good, but it was cool for belly dancing. Saw them at the beach where they played second bill to Quicksilver. Steppenwolf opened. Great show. Fuck, Quicksilver could headline shows in California without ever releasing an album (which was finally imminent at the time).

Kaleidoscope used to play in Malibu Canyon a lot for the local weirdos. They were seriously great. But certainly not everyone's Hostess Twinkie.


Anonymous said...

Brian Auger & the Trinity. I win.

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