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Vintage Hammond Organs Get New Life

Photo of Greg Black with client and musician Chuck Leavell (photo Katie Atkinson)

In this week's Right Here we visit Black Hammond, a downtown Macon store that services and sells new and vintage organs.

Greg Black with Black Hammond
Greg Black, owner of Black Hammond in downtown Macon (photo Katie Atkinson)

Greg Black has been playing and fixing Hammond organs since the 1990's after studying electronics at what was then Macon Technical College. He says most of his clients are African-American churches across the Southeast.

"The Hammond Organ is very prevalent in Gospel music, soul, rhythm and blues, jazz and many, many churches use the Hammond organ," Black says. "It's just part of the worship experience."

Many of those organs are over 50 years old. Black says the Hammond is an American icon deserving of preservation.

Hammond organs were so popular they had their own magazine (photo Katie Atkinson)

"It's very similar to vintage automobile restoration where you would completely dismantle a car down to its frame and chassis and re-build the automobile from the ground up," Black says. "It's a very costly and time consuming effort."

Black says Macon's central location and music history make it an ideal location.

"Gregg Allman was here, the Capricorn Studios," he says. "Mr. Otis Redding III who is just about four doors down from me enjoys coming up here and playing music together. James Brown, Little Richard, they've all got roots here."

 

Greg Black poses with the late Gregg Allman who he also worked with (photo Katie Atkinson)

Black Hammond, keeping the music going Right Here in Macon.

 

(Video by Grant Blankenship with additional audio by Elizabeth Tammi. Support for Right Here comes from the Peyton Anderson Foundation)

Josephine Bennett is the Station Manager at GPB Macon. She spends a lot of time volunteering in animal rescue and at any given time might be fostering dogs and puppies from the shelter in Macon.