40 Years Ago: Hammond Gamble

March 23, 2024
2 mins read

GARY STEEL chats with Hammond Gamble about his Allstars Sing The Blues with Beaver.

Original Title: HAMMOND EGGS

Hammond Gamble’s mundane amiability and my bumbling ineptitude make for less than fiery telephone conversation. He spoke prior to his stopover in Wellington on the current Allstars Sing The Blues revue tour, which also featured Beaver, Midge Marsden, a whole range of other familiar blues faces, and British guitar legend Wilko Johnson, formerly of once prime r’n’b rockers Dr Feelgood, and latterly of his own group Solid Senders and not his own group Ian Dury’s Blockheads.


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Gamble is one of our country’s older blues-soaked singer/songwriters, and one who has more than the usual number of plaudits and recommendations behind him. History recalls the fondly-remembered Stretttalk, recording sessions with LA charlatan Kim Fowley, and songs recorded by Joe Cocker and obscure European popular singers, not to mention that fabulous Telethon croonathon of a few years back.

After doing it all, Gamble has nothing left but top keep on doing it here, as best he can. There’s projects like these that keep cropping up. Then there’s the recording career, which demands an album every once in a while. Then there are affairs on the side, such as his musical matching with NZ’s queen of the blues, Beaver, on the single ‘Should I Be Good, Should I Be Evil?’

Gamble is right chuffed about this partnership. “She’s never been recorded before,” he says. Wrong, hold Ham, doncha remember BLERTA, Country Flyers, etc? Anyways, maybe this is the first 45rpm proper. Says Gamble: “Without blowing my own or her trumpet (doo-doo, doo-doooh!) I think she’s the best singer in New Zealand.”

Gamble and Beaver may do it again. Or may not. The next thing on the cards is a live album to be recorded in Auckland next month. Then, theoretically, there’s a studio album to prepare by February ’85.

So what of the future, Hammond? Seems the last LP did okay but failed to ship platinum, or even plutonium. His song publishers are working hard selling his songs to those who would sing them overseas. And as for the Music Awards (which Gamble and Beaver inexplicably extricated themselves from at the last minute), in which he is nominated for last year’s single, ‘Midnight’, he says: “Just between you and me, I can’t see ‘Midnight’ having a shit-show in hell of doing anything at the Music Awards.” Mr Gamble, pass go and collect $200.


+ This story was originally published in T.O.M. Magazine during the course of 1984.



Steel has been penning his pungent prose for 40 years for publications too numerous to mention, most of them consigned to the annals of history. He is Witchdoctor's Editor-In-Chief/Music and Film Editor. He has strong opinions and remains unrepentant. Steel's full bio can be found here

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