Al Gamble

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Al Gamble
Al Gamble in Memphis (2011)
Background information
Birth name John Allen Gamble Jr.
Also known as Al Gamble
Born (1969-03-11) March 11, 1969 (age 46)
Columbus, Georgia, United States
Genres Soul, R&B, rock, pop
Instruments Hammond B-3 organ, piano, clavinet, Wurlitzer
Years active 1987-present
Associated acts Gamble Brothers Band, The Grip, The City Champs, John Paul Keith and the 145s, Marc Broussard, Charles Walker and the Dynamites, St. Paul and the Broken Bones

John Allen "Al" Gamble (born March 11, 1969) is an American, Memphis, Tennessee based, session musician, playing Hammond B-3 organ and keyboards. He is currently the keyboard player for St. Paul and the Broken Bones.[1]

Early life[edit]

Gamble was born in Columbus, Georgia, United States, but his family moved to his parents' home town of Tuscumbia, Alabama, in the early 1970s, where he was raised. After graduating from the University of Alabama in 1991 he lived in Tuscumbia, until moving to Memphis in 1994 to pursue a career in music.


Gamble grew up listening to his father's record collection, which included Jimmy Smith, Ray Charles, Jack McDuff and other jazz and soul artists on the Verve and Blue Note labels.[2][3] He played in various bands during high school and college, and in 1992 joined the Shreveport-based Bluebirds, featuring Buddy Flett on guitar.[4] Gamble spent a few years in Memphis as a Beale Street musician, backing such artists as Preston Shannon and A-440. In 2001, he formed the Gamble Brothers Band with his younger brother Chad Gamble (drums), Art Edmaiston (saxophone) and Will Lowrimore (bass). The band recorded three albums from 2001 to 2007. The first album, 10 Lbs. of Hum (2001), was released independently and featured Lowrimore on bass. The last two albums, Back to the Bottom (2003) and Continuator (2006), were released on the Memphis-based label Archer Records. Back to the Bottom was the last recording to feature Lowrimore on bass, who left the band shortly after the album's release. Continuator featured bassist, Blake Rhea, who joined the band in 2003 to replace Lowrimore.

In 2003, the Gamble Brothers Band beat out more than 1,200 other artists to win the Billboard-sponsored Independent Music World Series award.[5]

Edmaiston joined the Jacksonville-based touring band JJ Grey & MOFRO in 2007,[6] and soon after that, the Gamble Brothers Band played their last live show, opening for the Black Crowes in October 2007 at Mud Island Amphitheatre in Memphis.[7] Earlier in 2007, while on a break from touring, Edmaiston joined Memphis guitar player Joe Restivo, drummer George Sluppick and Al Gamble to form The Grip, a four-piece jazz instrumental band specializing in boogaloo music.[8] The Grip recorded the EP Grab This Thing for Archer Records (2007).[9]

The road took Edmaiston away again, and Gamble, Restivo and Sluppick continued to play as a three-piece, forming the band The City Champs.[10] The City Champs have released two albums on Scott Bomar's Electraphonic label: The Safecracker (2009) and The Set Up (2010).[11] The City Champs tour regularly and have opened for other acts, including the North Mississippi Allstars and Huey Lewis.

The City Champs' music has been featured in the MTV series "$5 Cover"[12] and in the Emmy Award-winning documentary film I Am A Man: From Memphis, A Lesson in Life.[13]

On Nov 29, 2010, The City Champs took part in the filming of a new Memphis music documentary. Titled Take Me To The River, this Cody Dickinson/Martin Shore-produced film, released Sept. 12, 2014, showcases icons of the Memphis' music scene playing with up-and-coming young bands. The City Champs collaborated with harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite and Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section bassist David Hood on bass to film a segment at Electraphonic Studios in Memphis.[14] The film, which includes contributions from Terrance Howard and Snoop Dogg, was honored at the Raindance Film Festival awards ceremony in London as the Feature Film.[15]

Gamble has recorded on more than 50 albums and on various film scores. He is credited with writing or co-writing more than 40 songs, according to BMI.[16] He has toured with The City Champs, singer/songwriter Charlie Mars, John Paul Keith and the 145s,[17] Louisiana soul singer Marc Broussard, Charles Walker and the Dynamites, The Bo-Keys,[18] and St. Paul and the Broken Bones.[19]

Alabama Music Hall of Fame[edit]

Al Gamble and his brother Chad are listed as "Music Achievers" in the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.[20]


Year Album details
2001 Gamble Brothers Band - 10 lbs. of Hum[21]
  • Released: 2001
  • Produced by: Keith Sykes
  • Songs: Blue Beat Years, Bring 'em Back, Don't Turn Your Burner Down, Everything I Do, The Booster, City in the Sky, Numbers Never Lie, What's Wrong Now, Point the Finger, Don't Do It, You Gotta Be Kiddin'
2003 Gamble Brothers Band - Back to The Bottom[22]
  • Released: Sept. 2, 2003
  • Produced by: Ross Rice
  • Label: Archer Records
  • Songs: Record Store, Back to the Bottom, Love is Alive, Share, Tiki Bar, Come on Sam, One Stone, Escape Alley, Old New One, Land of Soul, Little Criminals, Cadillactopus
2006 Gamble Brothers Band - Continuator[23]
  • Released: Feb. 21, 2006
  • Produced by: Jeff Powell
  • Label: Archer Records
  • Songs: Overboard, Hold Out 'Til Monday, Back to School, E. Parkway Rundown, Heart's Not In It, Right Direction, Vinyl, Durty Walt, Shopping Cart, Theme From "Little Champ," Threw it All Away, All Skate, Best Defense
2007 The Grip - Grab This Thing[24]
  • Released: 2007
  • Label: Archer Records
  • Songs: Grab This Thing, Jan Jan, Tutwiler, Controversy, Farewell to Cheyenne
2009 The City Champs - The Safecracker
  • Released: March 17, 2009
  • Label: Electraphonic Recording
  • Songs: The Safecracker, Takin' State, Love is a Losing Game, Poppin', The Whap-A-Dang, Pretty Girl, Comin' Home Baby, You Can't Win, Four Score, Ol' Man River
2009 John Paul Keith and the 145s - Spills & Thrills
  • Released: April 14, 2009
  • Label: Big Legal Mess
2010 The City Champs - The Set Up
  • Released: 2010
  • Label: Electraphonic Recording
  • Songs: The Set Up, Drippy, Ricky's Rant, Crump St., Chinatown, Rigamarole, Local Jones, Break It Up, A Beautiful Mine (Theme from Mad Men), Comanche, The Sanctimoneous Kid, Shishido Jo
2011 John Paul Keith and the 145s - The Man that Time Forgot
  • Released: June 21, 2011
  • Label: Big Legal Mess
2013 John Paul Keith and the 145s - Memphis Circa 3AM
  • Released: Sept. 17, 2013
  • Label: Big Legal Mess
  • Songs: You Really Oughta Be with Me, We Got All Night, Everything's Different Now, Ninety Proof Kiss, Walking Along the Lane, True Hard Money, New Year's Eve, There's a Heartache Going 'Round, If You Catch Me Staring, Last Night I Had a Dream About You, She's Almost You, Baby We're a Bad Idea
2014 St. Paul and the Broken Bones - Half the City
  • Released: Feb. 18, 2014
  • Label: Single Lock Records
  • Songs: Call Me, Half the City, Broken Bones and Pocket Change, Like a Mighty River, Don't Mean a Thing, Grass is Greener, I'm Torn Up, Dixie Rothco, Let it Be So, That Glow

Television performances[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Review of the Gamble Brothers Band's 'Continuator'". Keyboard Magazine. April 30, 2006
  3. ^ "Review of the Gamble Brothers Band's 'Continuator'". Keyboard Magazine. April 30, 2006.
  4. ^ "The Bluebirds". Retrieved 2014-07-05. 
  5. ^ Billboard Magazine. August 16, 2003.
  6. ^ "JJ Grey & MoFro Saxophonist Art Edmaiston joins AMT Roster". Retrieved 2014-07-05. 
  7. ^ "The Black Crowes". Retrieved 2014-07-05. 
  8. ^ "The Grip Not Backing Off on the Boogaloo". The Commercial Appeal. September 14, 2007.
  9. ^ "With grinding organ, pounding drums and soulful grooves, the Grip has asserted itself as Memphis’ true boogaloo band.". Retrieved 2014-07-05. 
  10. ^ "The City Champs: Championing the 'Comeback' of the Jazz Age". Memphis Magazine. May 2009.
  11. ^ "Discography". Retrieved 2014-07-05. 
  12. ^ "$5 Cover - Artists/Cast Members". Retrieved 2014-07-05. 
  13. ^ "Secret Stages : City Champs (Memphis, TN)". Retrieved 2014-07-05. 
  14. ^ "The City Champs Score High with 'The Set Up'". CHC Network. December 19, 2010. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ Gamble, Al. "Songwriter/Composer: GAMBLE AL". song writing. BMI. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  17. ^ "Right Place, Right Time: John Paul Keith finds he's still progressing", The Commercial Appeal (Memphis), September 19, 2013
  18. ^ "Bo-Keys Release New Singles, 'Making of' Video", The Commercial Appeal (Memphis), November 12, 2013
  19. ^ "Birmingham-based soul band St. Paul and the Broken Bones quickly attracting attention". The Tuscaloosa News. July 12, 2013
  20. ^ "Music Achievers – G". Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on February 17, 2012. 
  21. ^ "10 lbs. of Hum". Archer Records. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Back to the Bottom". Archer Records. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  23. ^ "The Continuator". Archer Records. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  24. ^ "The Grip – Biography". Archer Records. Retrieved March 10, 2013.