Local legend musician Hammond Gamble is synonymous with Blues in this country since ages ago. His congenial rasp of a voice with tasty blues guitar licks has seen the musician turning out music since his Street Talk days (If you can remember them, you are definitely showing your age) or that annoyingly catchy 90s Red Nose Day song, You Make The Whole World Smile.
He’s got a back log of albums and has played support with overseas artists including Tina Turner & The Eagles, and also with our own local musical royalty. Together with compadres bassist Alan MacDonald and drummer Brent Eccles continues to smash out the songs that has contributed to his longevity with the talented trio.
For ‘a buck’ entry you couldn’t go wrong as pretty much the packed venue would testify, with Gamble snidely adding “Next time it’ll be two bucks” or joking about a “Disappointing night” with the band, however their rusty beginning gave way to a solid night of Blues & entertainment, as they warmed up they clicked, found their sweet spot and never looked like turning back.
Gamble’s rich guitar tones took to the fore on tracks You Cheated Me or Blues Paradise, together with keyboardist Steven Small, taking turns to solo, while ex Angels drummer Eccles and MacDonald kept the rhythm section pumping in the ‘engine room’, Eccles’ occasional outburst of “I don’t know this one” didn’t wear with Gamble, his guitar churning out pentatonic heaven at every twist & turn.
Gamble still has that special ‘something’, his music sinister, unnerving, the essence of the soul of the Bluesman is noticeably still present. His place (and the others) in New Zealand music history is strongly etched with this group, let’s hope they get more opportunities to play their music. Be a shame if more folk haven’t heard their music, even if they double the entry fee at their next gig, be worth the price of admission alone, and, a chance to experience these musical legends in concert.