Hammond Gamble was born, the son on a New Zealander, in Lancashire, moving with his family to New Zealand and Whangarei as a 12-year-old in the early '60s. Soon after, he took up the guitar, played with various local bands and developed a passion for the blues that would flavour his soon-to-be-distinctive vocal and guitar styles.
In 1974, he formed the first version of Street Talk, out front on lead guitar and vocals. It was perfect timing. Within a year, the band was fully professional and riding the first crest of what would be an extraordinary time for Kiwi rock music.
This was back in the days before radio or television gave a hoot for homegrown original rock music - but the fans surely did, famously packing out venues like Auckland's Windsor Castle and Gluepot to catch showstopping performances by Gamble and his band, who expanded from an initial trio to a five-piece.
Gamble's powerful stage presence swiftly drew career-altering attention. Chris Hillman, a former member of legendary American band The Byrds, caught a Street Talk performance during a visit to New Zealand and produced the band's first single, Leaving the Country.
Now signed to WEA Records, Street Talk went on to record two albums - their self-titled debut, which was produced by infamous American music whacko and producer Kim Fowley, and 'Battleground of Fun'. The albums, though, never quite caught the band's in-concert firepower.
By the early '80s, Street Talk was rock-and-roll history and Gamble was embarking on a solo career that would spawn three albums and a number one hit in the early '90s with 'You Make the Whole World Smile'.
Down the years, Gamble has had some frustratingly-close brushes with world domination. He's played support, at major concerts, to the likes of The Eagles, Joe Cocker, Talking Heads, Bonnie Raitt, Fleetwood Mac and Tina Turner. And he spent a period in America, on the brink of a major recording deal that never happened.
These days, plays the occasional show with an electric band, but most of his live work is solo acoustic. He's working on an album of new songs, but in the meantime, 'Recollection' is a powerful reminder of the undiminished talent of one of our rock music greats.
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Hammond Gamble releases 'Ninety Mile Days'
Posted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:28 pm
Legendary bluesman and songwriter Hammond Gamble has delivered the best album of his career.
Ninety Mile Days is a collection of all-new originals covering the electrifying gamut of Gamble’s styles, from McCartney-esque pop songs in ‘Memory No.1’ through gentle soulful ballads ‘I Had A Dream’ to full-blooded blues rock songs ‘It’s Been Too Long’ ringing with Gamble’s lead guitar.
With definite touches of Hammond’s life in New Zealand, as told by Hammond ‘Ninety Mile Days’ is “a little story that looks back at a time spent at Ahipara up north in the mid seventies, Susan and I went back recently to get some photos for the cover.”
A few of the songs I wrote a long time ago and never recorded. I used to do “For the First Time” over 30 years ago although I’ve changed the words and the great Midge Marsden used a version of ‘Strangers Girl’ for his Burning Rain epic in 1990” he adds.
The album was once again produced by Rikki Morris, who also plays guitar. “Rikki had this idea of recording the rhythm tracks in the old theatre in Devonport and it sounded like an interesting idea so he dragged all his gear down there, set up and we were away!” says Hammond.
Both personal and reflective, Hammond finetunes his craftmanship on ‘Ninety Mile Days’, OUT NOW
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