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MMD > Archives > January 1997 > 1997.01.29 > 08Prev  Next


Band Organ Diaspora
By Matthew Caulfield

Jan Kijlstra's note on band organs in Cuba interested me particularly because I have wondered for years why Wurlitzer created at least 5 style 165 rolls of Cuban danzon music. This is remarkable because it made no other ethnic 165 rolls that we know of. I have speculated, without hard information, that Wurlitzer may have sold a few of its larger organs to Cuba and so felt the need to supply Cuban music for them.

Only one of those 5 rolls survive, and it is has an interesting peculi- arity in that in the middle of most (maybe all) of the purely Cuban tunes Wurlitzer stuck a snippet of an American tune from one of its other rolls -- almost as if the company were advertising "coming attractions." Thus in the middle of the danzon "Corralito" one hears a bit of Mary Earl's "Beautiful Ohio" plain as can be.

[ Editors notes:
[
[ The arrangers worked largely from the band "stock" orchestrations
[ in that era, and "Tin Pan Alley" routinely placed quotes from other
[ songs of the same publishing house in the middle of the orchestration.
[ On rolls and on records it says, "Introducing...<Beautiful Ohio>".
[ Not that "Beautiful Ohio", or whatever, was owned by the same US
[ publisher that had "Corralito" -- it's simply that the arrangers were
[ accustomed to this practice, and enjoyed the musical diversion.
[
[ And they occasionally enjoyed a musician's joke: in the middle
[ of "Jones' Law Blues" (protesting Prohibition) the band plays,
[ "I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You!"
[
[ -- Robbie

(Message sent Wed 29 Jan 1997, 17:07:12 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Band, Diaspora, Organ

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