Album Review: Lost Organ Unit – Playing the Organ for the People

Lost Organ Unit

Playing the Organ for the People

Lugging a full size 1964 Hammond around the gig circuit takes a degree of commitment, and Bobby Aspey and cohort display total commitment throughout this very enjoyable recording of classic Hammond grooves. Aspey himself penned the tunes, which make creative use of the templates established by such luminaries of the instrument as Richard ‘Groove’ Holmes, ‘Big’ John Patton, ‘Baby Face’ Willette, Jimmy McGriff and Jack McDuff, as well as the acknowledged master of the form, Jimmy Smith, and simpler but soulful practitioners like the immortal Booker T Jones and Jackie Mittoo.

Get It While It’s Hot is an irresitible groove, Polka-Dot Bikini has a Tarantino-esque atmosphere to its moody minor mooch, Clock Watching has a breezy 60s pop feel, like a cross-channel escapee from Paris’ swinging Ye-ye scene and P.B Swede is a classic boogaloo that could have served as a theme tune for any number of 60s cops-and-capers TV shows. Throughout, the band play with the appropriate application of soulful swing – drummer Grant Allardyce hits exactly the correct level of downhome grease in his grooves, with Don’t Stop demonstrating a particularly nice example of his relaxed but on-the-money feel, and Luke Rattenbury on guitar ties things together with his own super-tight pocket and contributes fire and flash in his consistently satisfying solo breaks – Precious features an especially cooking example. Mr Aspey himself shows that he understands the correct use of every drawbar, and turns in a neat solo here, some fat comping there, and a general grasp of what’s required. The compositions are consistently successful – there’s a clear line of inspiration leading from Booker T through UK Mod culture and thence to the James Taylor Quartet which Aspey understands very well, and some nice original touches like the use of bass clarinet and baritone sax from the excellent Bjorn Dahlberg and a summery wordless vocal from Ela Southgate on No. 8. Everyone seems to know exactly what they’re doing and what the style demands, and they deliver it with panache and a palpable sense of enjoyment in what they’re doing – playing organ for the people, indeed.

Eddie Myer

Bobby Aspey, Hammond organ; Luke Rattenbury, guitar; Grant Allardyce, drums.

With Bjorn Dahlberg, sax; Ela Southgate, vocals.