Thursday, May 20, 2010

Is this Jerry Dammers Original 1966 Vox Super Continental Organ? If So, Why Was It Sold Last Year?


I'm always amazed when iconic pieces of musical history (like Gold Records) end up in someones garage sale or on eBay. The music business is a tough one and many a musician on the top of the world one moment can quickly find themselves back where it all started without a penny in their pockets. Sadly, when times are tight, that Gold Record may help to pay the rent.

That said, I'm usually saddened when I hear about musicians selling their own instruments. Though inanimate objects, guitars, drums and pianos can take on lives and personalities of their own, making them very hard to part with no matter the personal crisis. So imagine my surprise when I learned that what appears to be Jerry Dammer's original Vox Continental organ had been legitimately sold last year by a reputable music wholesaler in Coventry.


The buyer recently posted a note on The Specials community page looking for some further proof on the authenticity of the instrument he now owns. Turns out when he opened it up to do some repairs on the 1966 organ, he discovered service notes from 30+ years ago that led him to believe that he might indeed be in possession of Dammers iconic instrument. That and Jerry's name and S AKA (Special AKA) written on the inside! His note said:

I own a 66' Vox SuperContinental MkII Organ, and I suspect it was the very same model owned and used by Jerry Dammers during his time in The Specials.

- The organ (or a ringer!) appears in the 'Message To You Rudy' video
- I bought the organ from a wholesalers just outside of Coventry
- When I opened up the organ for a technical adjustment, I noticed it's signed 'J. DAMMERS. S.AKA'.


Comparing the pictures the buyer shared above and below with video screen grabs it sure looks like he is the proud owner of a piece of 2-Tone musical history. If it is indeed the original, which has toured the world and been featured prominently in iconic videos for 'Message To You Rudy' and 'Gangsters' then it raises all sorts of questions. Why did Dammers sell the organ? The timing for the sale would have been when his former bandmates kicked off their 30th anniversary tour without him. Perhaps he offloaded the instrument in a fit of anger? Maybe it reminded him too much of the tour taking place without him? And if the organ could talk, what stories would it have to tell?







With the fundraiser for the 2-Tone Central Museum scheduled for this weekend, it might be nice if, once the buyer authenticates it was owned by Dammers, that he donate the organ for short visits to the museum for all 2-Tone fans to see. More on this as it develops.

3 comments:

Stewart said...

i seem to remember someone on a guitar forum i post on saying he used to own dammers' vox organ, but he'd sold it to 'an old hippie guy' when he decided he didn't want to play the keyboard any more. i believe it was some time ago, so may have changed hands a few times since.

Stewart said...

i seem to remember someone on a guitar forum i post on saying he used to own dammers' vox organ, but he'd sold it to 'an old hippie guy' when he decided he didn't want to play the keyboard any more. i believe it was some time ago, so may have changed hands a few times since.

Pete Chambers said...

We would love this at The Coventry Music Museum, if its authentic, although I mentioned it to Jerry a while ago, and he reckons it was err, removed from a lock up. So the plot thickens... Regards Pete Chambers www.covmm.co.uk