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Deep Fried Hammond

Sample Library By Hugh Robjohns
Published September 2002

Audio + WAV. **** 4/5 Stars.

It's a rare track of almost any genre that won't benefit from a bit of Hammond burbling through it. Okay, so maybe I'm a little biased as the owner of a console tonewheel Hammond myself; but if you like the 'old throbbing organ', this new sample library from Deep Sounds UK could be just the ticket.

The thing about the Hammond is that its idiosyncratic sound is as much about playing style and technique as it is about the tonewheels, valves and Leslie combination. So if your fingers don't have the knack and your keyboard sounds like... well, not a Hammond anyway, this might be just the solution your sampler or audio workstation has been waiting for.

Deep Fried Hammond sample library.This is, quite simply, a superb copyright-free collection of conventional, innovative and sometimes downright unusual Hammond licks, fills, riffs, grooves, progressions, slides, growls and funky bass lines all designed to spice up any track. The majority of samples are really imaginative blues/rock-oriented material, with a little gospel and traditional organ work thrown in, and all beautifully recorded and performed in such a way to complement any track without being overpowering. The organ is recorded completely dry, and every nuance is captured with in-the-room clarity, plus a nice stereo width to the Leslie.

Kenny Craddock is a whizz at the console of a great-sounding Hammond C3 and Leslie 122 combo, recorded with Neumann U87s at Eddie Grant's Blue Wave Studio in Barbados. For anyone unfamiliar with the name, Craddock is an established session player who's recorded and performed with the likes of Van Morrison, Gerry Rafferty, Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, George Harrison and many others — so there's no doubting he knows his chops. Every player has their own style, and Craddock's is to play with his left hand on the drawbars just as much as his right is on the keyboard, resulting in a dynamic, evolving sound with a really organic (if you'll excuse the pun), live performance feel.

Deep Fried Hammond is provided on two CDs: the first is a straight audio disc that allows easy loading into a workstation for a bit of manual cutting and pasting, while the second is a CD-ROM carrying WAV files for loading into compatible samplers. The audio disc carries 95 separate tracks: the first a demo and the rest individual samples, most subdivided with up to four variations, each meticulously described in the manual in terms of drawbar, effects (harmonics and vibrato), Leslie settings, tempo and key (or chord progressions). The various riffs and licks last anywhere between about five and 45 seconds, while the tempos range from 74 to 124bpm, and pretty much all the common keys and chord progressions are catered for.

I spent some time messing about with these samples on a variety of tracks composed by a friend of mine, and managed to find combinations of samples that spiced things up nicely in most cases with solid funky bass lines, a variety of chord progressions, a few glissandos and falls, sharp stabs, and a judicious collection of overdriven grunge thrown in for good measure. Within a mix they all work really well, largely because of their constantly changing tone colour, volume and Leslie speed. These grooves aren't mechanical in any way — they really live and breathe with Craddock's long experience of the Hammond and his musical intuition shining through. If you crave the inimitable Hammond sound on your tracks, but don't have the skills or sources, check out this disk — I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Two-CD audio + WAV set £59.95 including VAT.

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