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MMD > Archives > January 1996 > 1996.01.02 > 03Prev  Next

Re: Band Organ Recordings
By Matthew Caulfield

I bought my first band organ recordings back in the early 1950's, and they were hard to find. They came from the late Ross R. Davis, owner of the Griffith Park, Lincoln Park, and Tilden Regional Park merry-go-rounds in California, and from the Allan Herschell Company in North Tonawanda, N.Y. They were reel-to-reel 7 1-2 ips tapes. Today there are many band organ recordings available both as cassettes and CD's.

If you want CD's of Wurlitzer 165 band organs, Klavier Records, P.O. Box 177, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 has a couple, the latest being recorded from an organ in the private Gilson collection in Wisconsin. Several CD's of the Seabreeze Park Wurlitzer 165, destroyed by fire March 31, 1994, are available from Dynamic Recording, 2844 Dewey Avenue, Rochester, NY 14616. CD's of smaller Wurlitzer organs are available from Marion Roehl Recordings, 3533 Stratford Drive, Vestal, NY 13850.

The Roehls also sell cassette recordings of other band organs, calliopes, and other mechanical musical instruments. Artacus, Box 284, State College, PA 16804, has, inter alia, a recording of a nice DeKleist band organ playing 165 rolls. But the biggest selection of band organ tapes of both American and European band organs is issued by Carrousel Music, P.O. Box 231, Chambersburg, PA 17201. These cassettes are always well-recorded from organs that are in top shape. A personal favorite of mine, aside of course from the Wurlitzer 165 recordings, is the cassette of Elise Roenigk's Richter organ, a European band organ playing book music.

This is simply a mention of recent and readily available band organ recordings. Many others have appeared on the commercial market since the 1950's. It is fun to track them down and try to identify the mystery organs that sometimes are heard there. Fred Dahlinger, historian at Circus World Museum, Baraboo, Wisc., has a pretty extensive list. George Karpel, in Burnaby, B.C., Canada, has a personal (not-for-sale) cassette archive of recordings of every Wurlitzer 165 band organ roll known (about 150 rolls in all).

(Message sent Tue 2 Jan 1996, 14:45:09 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Band, Organ, Recordings

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