He defined the 605 Hammond organ sound, yet BRIAN AUGER still plays the hit he wrote as a joke. Words: Catherine Bromley
or many ottt there. heaven is the sound of the Hammond B3 organ. Since its creation in 1928. few have managed to harness its potential for rich. swirling. bouncy tones in the jazz rock tradition as much as seminal (i()s keyboard player. Brian Auger. He has made the instrument his own. Quite simply and to quote the man's very own words. he 'never leaves home without it‘.
Auger's love affair with the Hammond B3 began in the early (30s when working in London as a jazz pianist. Inspired by Mose Allison and Jimmy Smith. he seized upon the instrument's driving energy and launched the Brian Auger Trinity. a band that fused jazz. rock. blues and soulful funk to maximum effect.
With Julie Driscoll on vocals. the band struck gold with organ- propelled classics such as ‘Season Of The Witch’ and ‘This Wheel‘s On Fire' (a song Driscoll recorded again as the theme tune to Absolutely fabulous). Their 196‘) album Street/misc was heralded as the first jazz fusion project.
More than three decades later. Auger is still pumping his distinctive organ for all its worth. Oblivion Express. the band he formed in 1970. now boasts a brand new famiIy-orientated line-up featuring his daughter Savannah on vocals and his son Karma on drums and the forthcoming L'K tour will feature new compositions alongside classic material from the Trinity days.
‘I haven‘t done that material for all these years because we‘ve gone on and developed a load of other things.‘ says the now LA—based Auger. 'The additions of the old material are not so much things that I have selected to play. but they've just been in response to audiences constantly requesting them.'
‘Indian Rope Man‘ has been reworked with ‘a kinda James Brown groove‘ and fans of the early material will be pleased to learn that Auger is
THE BRILLIANT NEW ALBUM INCLUDES THE SINGLE
‘JUST BEFORE YOU LEAVE’
ON TOUR IN MAY:
2 OXFORD APOLLO 3 LIVERPOOL ROYAL COURT
4 YORK BARBICAN 6 CAMBRIDGE CORN EXCHANGE
7 BIRMINGHAM ACADEMY 8 NEWCASTLE CITY HALL
9 GLASGOW BARROWLANDS II MANCHESTER ACADEMY 12 BRISTOL COLSTON HALL l3 CARDIFF ST DAVIDS HALL Id NORWICH UEA 16.30UTHAMPTON GUILDHALL
17 LONDON SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE
18 LONDON SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE
19 CROYDON FAIRFIELD HALL
‘When we play it a smile comes across everyone’s face’
,. an) wlth a musical ‘ family
rehearsing 'Tiger” for the UK shows. As it goes. this particular organ-charged gem was written as a pop spoof by Auger. a joke he hoped would result in his being kicked off a label that criticised his music for being too jazzy. Reading the riffs backwards from the Kinks’ ‘All Day And All Of The Night‘ and writing ‘bullshit lyrics‘ in the style of ‘Wild Thing' by the Troggs. Auger's
joke backfired when the song became a hit.
‘\\'hen we play it a smile comes across everyone's face.’ he says. 'We all know the history of the song and I’m thinking: “This cannot be happening. About 25 years after I wrote this song for a joke and here I am playing it".'
Brian Auger plays La Belle Angele, Edinburgh, Sun 28 Apr. More tripTych coverage and listings next issue. Tickets from Fopp Records, Ticket Scotland outlets or by calling 0870 220 1116.
11—25 Apr 2832 THE LIST 13