So I'm listening and trying to take it all in but find myself zeroing in on what else...the Hammond. Early on I detected something that to me just wasn't right. It wasn't wrong or musically incorrect - it just didn't sound "Rolie-ish" enough. I said ok, Gregg's opted for a different type of sound, a cleaner tone, a more clynical thinner tymber on the organ. That was all right, the fat, dirty, gritty growl that he used in the early days was great. It just seemed to fit the music perfectly. On the other hand, I love Chester's cleaner, gospel/blues sound he got his Hammond to produce. Truth to tell, the only Hammond sound I really didn't care for all through the years was Tom Coster's choice of Hammond tone he used on the Lotus album. He's given lots of interviews as to how he arrived at that sound, running a Leslie through two Fender Twin Reverbs, sending that signal through the p.a. But there was just something about this organ that just wasn't...well, Gregg.
A friend suggested I go to you tube and watch a video of a partial recording session of Santana 4. but he also said that I should view at my own risk - I might not like what I find.
Yeah, sure enough there it was: Gregg playing (gulp) a (steady nerves) transistor powered Hammond. Now don't get me wrong, I have several non tube driven Hammonds as well as transistor keyboard amps and Leslie Speakers, and I believe when they're dialed in correctly they can do a good job of immitating an actual tone wheel Hammond, but come on - maybe ok out on the road but not in the studio, and CERTAINLY not for an undertaking with this level of importance. It just doesn't seem right to me to find Gregg Rolie playing anything but the real thing - a vintage, tube driven, tonewheel Hammond organ, preferably model B-3. I'm not going to go so far as to say he pioneered the Hammond in rock music, there were lots of groups using them, but he's made it his life's being to be associated with "that Hammond sound". To me, (agree or disagree with me, it's all good) there is just something seriously wrong with that.
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