Hammond Gamble has formed a new band with some old mates. Well worth a listen,
TONY NIELSEN reckons

Five decades deep into a music career Hammond Gamble has been like the proverbial Joseph in his coat of many colours.

After paying his early dues in a bunch of bands it was in Street Talk that Gamble made his mark as both a guitarist and a songwriter. That was a while back. Quite a while in fact.

In the meantime, Hammond Gamble has performed in every corner of New Zealand, often as a solo act, other times as part of a package like the Church tour, or making up an unlikely trio with Tim Shadbolt and Gary McCormick.

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Across the years, he has crossed paths again and again and played with Brent Eccles and Andy MacDonald.

When Eccles said goodbye to his Angels gig and returned to Auckland a few years ago, the trio gradually evolved a plan to record together. Gamble was now in demand for advertising jingles, ironically as a singer rather than a guitarist.

Hammond Gamble has always had an affinity for the blues, starting out, as many of us did, with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers LP with Eric Clapton, and with the original Fleetwood Mac.

From there Hammond followed the pathway from British Blues to the original artists, Muddy Waters, Walter Jacobs, and especially the guitarists, BB King, Freddie King and Otis Rush. I get that as I have been on a similar mission, although my own music making skills are less than zero. I certainly detected his fondness for the late 60s/early 70s blues era when we caught up recently.

As Hammond tells it, the music for the Disappointments debut album came about in an unusual way.

As the delegated songwriter for the trio, it was his job to create the lyrics for the recording sessions. To get that process under way Brent Eccles sent Gamble a set of drum tracks which he had recorded on his phone, a little different from the usual instrumental tracks that are usually the basis for developing songs.

Long story short, Gamble did get those songs written, although I am not sure that Brent Eccles' drum tracks were in any way instrumental in creating the songs.

Gamble, Eccles and MacDonald have created an album that reeks of their closeness to each other musically. It's tough, gritty and well worth a listen.

As the story goes, the name The Disappointments came about when they were tossing around band names, and I reckon it's spot-on for a trio that seems to live their lives in an alternative mindset.

Truth is, and here's the irony: they were probably thinking about their music together, which is far from disappointing.

Hammond Gamble (centre) has been writing songs to drum tracks from former Angels drummer Brent Eccles.
Hammond Gamble (centre) has been writing songs to drum tracks from former Angels drummer Brent Eccles.

The Disappointments

Check out the line-up of the Disappointments and your expectations will soar because these guys have been serious contributors to the New Zealand rock scene for decades.

Hammond Gamble, he's been everywhere man, best known for his bluesy vocals in a who's who of more bands than you've had hot dinners.

Andy MacDonald, bassist for countless Kiwi groups, and Brent Eccles, today best known for his Entertainment business, but also for occupying the drum stool for the Angels. Collectively these three legends have re-grouped under the Disappontments nom de plume.

All of the songs on the Disappointments' self-titled album are originals and they're well written and delivered. As you would expect, the music is first class.

With Hammond Gamble not only does he stand out as the lead vocalist but his guitar work is a major asset to the overall sound, anchored by the excellent rhythm section of Brent Eccles on drums and Andy MacDonald's bass.

Stephen Small's keyboards bring another element to what is already a big sound while tasty harmonica licks by the album's mixer Terry Manning round out a stellar line-up.

I'm not sure how many years the combined music careers of these guys would add up to, and who cares, but what does count is that their experience allows them to sound like they've been playing together for yonks.

Good to hear guys this talented bringing new music of this calibre. You won't be disappointed if you make this one your next album purchase.