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MMD > Archives > August 2004 > 2004.08.13 > 06Prev  Next


Unknown Tunes & Band Organs on Old Recordings
By Andrew Barrett

Hello all,  About 10 years ago, I used to ride the Central Park carousel
regularly.  My mom and I were familiar with one of the operators,
Mr. Anthony Simpson, and one day he presented me with a tape he made
of various band organs.

What he said about it was interesting.  I vaguely remember him saying
something to the effect of, "There was an organ rally at Flushing Meadows
park in Queens several years ago, and I taped the organs there."  This
is strange, because I don't remember reading about any kind of organ
rally in any of the parks in New York City in anything I've come across.
Even if it was before I was born, I think I would have at least heard
about it!  However, I am probably mis-remembering it; there is a large
organ rally held every year or so in North Tonawanda -- this may be
where he recorded some of the organs.

He also said something like "listen for an organ named 'Trudy'."  This
remark is strange, since there are no organs or tunes listed on the
tape, and what significance would that have to me?  It wasn't until
about 1996, while reading the Carousel News and Trader, that I discovered
that 'Trudy' is in fact a fantastic truck-mounted organ built by Mr.
David Wasson, formerly of San Diego.  One year later, I would attend
my first organ rally and hear this organ in person.

The tape has no markings other than this notation on the end of the box
and the label on the cassette itself:  "Carousel music mix - various
band organs courtesy of Flushing Meadow Carousel, NY."

No tunes are listed, nor are any organs specifically named.  I would
venture a guess that some of the music was taken from LP's existing at
the carousel in Flushing Meadow park in Queens, and the rest was
recorded "live" at an organ rally.  That's how it sounds to me, anyway.
I would like to know which LP's the tunes come from, so I can look for
them.

Almost all the organs on this cassette are European, or at least sound
like it, and for the most part the arrangements are superb.  I have
been able to identify 15 of the tunes on the tape, as well as two of
the organs: one is definitely a 112-key Carl Frei, while another is a
Ruth, possibly a model 38.  In all, there are 31 tunes on the cassette.

I loved this tape so much that it is nearly worn-out from being played
very often for about eight years!  It was lost during the last move
over a year ago, and I only just recently dug it out.  Seeing that it
was only good for a handful of plays before it wore out, I carefully
transferred it to two CDs using a rack-mounted CD burner.  Then, after
making a list of all the tunes I could positively identify and their
track numbers, I saved the tracks of the first CD on the computer as
MP3 files, using RealPlayer v10.

Since there are 16 unidentified tracks, and I haven't yet saved the
second CD, I will email a batch of eight tunes to the MMD to see if
anyone can identify the organs and titles, along with the composers and
dates, if possible.  There is one tune on here that is very important
to me, and I _must_ learn who the composer is!  It is a beautiful
melody, while the rest of the tune is stylistically at odds with itself,
yet I am sure that it is one tune and not a medley.  Here's the first
batch of unknown tracks (all on CD #1).  [snip!]

 [ Since my Internet connection is very slow, I've asked Andrew to
 [ send the tunes to me on a CD via postal mail.  Hear them soon at
 [ the MMD Sounds site, http://mmd.foxtail.com/Sounds/  -- Robbie

Thank you very much,
Andrew Barrett


(Message sent Fri 13 Aug 2004, 06:39:09 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Band, Old, Organs, Recordings, Tunes, Unknown

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