I wish I was a mole in the ground.


I wish I was a mole in the ground.


If I’s a mole in the ground, I’d root that mountain down.


I wish I was a mole in the ground.


You may be thinking that such a wish ill becomes someone with an obsessive aversion to woodchucks. Why would I claim an affinity for moles, which are, arguably, no more attractive nor less destructive than woodchucks.


Well, the verse is not original. You should have known. Would I muff the subjunctive? Of course not. Lest the shade of the late James J. Kilpatrick would come a-haunting, and disturb my sleep, I would state, or sing, “I wish I were a mole in the ground.”


All this is by way of telling you about the MusicNotes freebie of the week, which I downloaded. The lyrics are by that ever popular, and endlessly prolific, master or mistress of the songwriting art, Traditional. There are eight verses.


MusicNotes.com is a good source of sheet music or guitar tabs. You download the software and arrange to be notified of the monthly freebies. You can also download from their pay-per-download catalog. There is a MusicNotes player that plays the piece you have purchased (or the current freebie) while it is displayed, highlighting the notes as they are played. If you think you will be downloading quite a lot of sheet music, you can become a member (there’s a small fee), which qualifies you for a discount on each purchase.


There are other sources of downloadable scores and tabs, of course. Virtual Sheet Music is another one I like.


*    *    *


Friends of mine provide a house-cleaning-out service when called upon to do so—sometimes after a death or for some other reason. Yesterday they told me about something they found in a Roulette house, that I might know something about. Could it be sold? If so, what is it worth? It would be a shame to just discard something that someone might want, if only that someone knew it is available.


It is an organ, and it says Leslie on it. Aha! That would be a Hammond with a Leslie speaker—that revolving speaker system that would create an effect of space and reverberation. Hammonds came with and without Leslie systems, and Leslie speakers might be inside the organ case or in separate, attached cabinets.


I am using past tense because there is little market for and virtually no availability of Hammond organs for the home; and I would like to think no one is making, selling, buying or using them as church organs, these days. When I hear a Hammond organ in a large place, people should be playing ball or roller skating. Of course, Hammonds can also sound like merry-go-rounds, so there’s another suitable use.


Electronic organs generally, likewise, are not being produced and marketed for home use, these days, because of the rise of the electronic keyboard, such as digital pianos and synthesizers. The more modern devices are far more versatile, portable and affordable.


There long have been and still are perfectly suitable electronic organs intended for church or chapel use and use in auditoriums and funeral homes studios and practice rooms and such. Those tend to be large and to have modern sound systems aboard or attached. And those don’t look or sound much like most electronic organs that were, or are, in homes.


Although the terms have been used loosely by many, purists differentiate between electronic and electro-mechanical organs. Whether tubes or solid state components were inside, tone generation in  “classic” Hammonds was not, strictly speaking, electronic. Wurlitzers, Conns, Esteys, Baldwins and others of their ilk did not generate tones with the full complement of overtones or partials, and then scrape off or contour some of those extra frequencies—but that was the Hammond approach, with its tone-wheels. True electronic organs generate tones with oscillators, (or Conn’s stroboscopic disks), complete with specific overtone profiles, and provided controls for combining those to create various effects.


Hammonds were not intended to approximate church pipe organ sounds to any great degree, and secular-use pipe organs only very generally. They were, and modern counterparts are, great fun for jazz use. What with the tremolo, vibrato and spooky quint-tab sounds, those beasts can swing.


This Hammond in Roulette probably is a spinet (the smaller type), not a console (wider, manuals of equal length, full “fanned” pedal-board). But maybe not, since I am told it was acquired from a church, some time ago.


A spinet Hammond would have two 44-key manuals, staggered, and 13 pedals. A console Hammond would have two 61-key manuals, over each other.


If you are interested, let me know what you would offer, and I’ll pass that on to my friends.


E Drymar@gmail.com. Skype lilimartini. Call 814.642.7552.