One way to appreciate the past is through the playing of its instruments.
Our friend, cellist Zuill Bailey, plays on a cello that was handcrafted when Bach was alive. Just the idea of keeping alive that instrument’s rich heritage is inspiring to me.
Move up in time a few hundred years and Octave Record’s recent purchase for the studio of a vintage 1947 Hammond organ has me equally excited.
The classic Hammond for which we are all familiar with the sound—remember Booker T. and the M.G.s?—is legendary. From soap operas to rock, the sound of the B3 is unmistakable. Just remember back to these songs featuring the Hammond: Procol Harum, Whiter shade of Pale, Gimme’ some lovin’ by the Spencer Davis Group, Hush by Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin’s Your time is gonna come, Mr. Moonlight by the Beatles, Time is tight by Booker T, Hold your head up by Argent, to name just a few.
The organ we acquired is a Hammond C3. The ones used in the above tracks is a B3. The difference? The color of the cabinet. B3 was Hammond’s designation for Bar (to be played in a bar) and C is for Church (to be played on Sunday). Internally they are carbon copies.
Octave’s Leslie, the spinning loudspeaker that gives the Hammond part of its signature sound, was from a B3.
One of the defining characteristics of the Hammond organ is its classic sound. It was not an electronic organ as so many that followed were. Instead, the Hammond relied upon spinning tone wheels and a good dose of Hammond oil to keep the beast running.
The day the organ was delivered I filmed the experience and placed it into a video you can watch here.
The next Octave release you hear with this classic organ sound you’ll know the history behind it.