CD Duration: 53.52 / Year: 2015
2015 release at the Böhm Excellence Amadeus 300 Maxima organ.
River Deep Mountain High
All I Ever Need Is You
Love Is All
Song of Ocarina
I Can See Clearly Now
Rock ’n’ Roll Medley: Let’s Have a Party / Let’s Dance / Let’s Twist Again / Rock Around the Clock / Johnny B. Goode
Flashdance… What A Feeling
I’m Still Standing
What A Feeling (30 Years on Stage)
Organ & Keyboard Cavalcade Review
This is a bit of a milestone recording as the CDs full title is “What A Feeling – 30 Years on Stage” and, as the name suggests, 2015 marks DirkJan’s thirty years as an organist. A previous milestone was also marked with a CD release ten years ago (called, not unsurprisingly “20 Years on Stage”). This title is a little misleading as it infers it’s a live recording, but you will be pleased to know it sounds more of a studio one as there is no sound of any audience participation, either the good kind (clapping) or the bad kind (tickly coughs).
I am currently on my free Apple Music trial and a search for Dirk on iTunes shows no less than twenty-five albums available to download. Apart from the Hammond jazz artistes, I think that must be the most recordings any organist has available online. Still, if you are one of the many who prefer to have the physical CD, then this one features the Böhm Excellence 300 Maxima organ with the “Amadeus” upgrade. The online ‘bumpf’ on this is pretty impressive, with more processing power, larger memory and more samples, including articulation and phrasing features.
If you are buying this CD and the Wooldridge one, I would suggest putting this one on first and then you can have the Piano Magic one to help you wind-down. If you put the opening track “River Deep Mountain High” on after getting all laid-back with the Wooldridge CD, you might have a heart attack, as it’s pretty full-on with brass, electric guitars, orchestral hits, piano, and sampled backing vocals (in fact I think he used ALL the sounds from the upgrade on this first track). Things settle down a little afterwards and you’re put in the ‘recovery position’ with “Melissa” by the Argentinian jazz pianist Raul di Blasio, which is a really pretty tune, starting with atmospheric panpipes and bell-trees before we get the piano melody and orchestral backing with strings and harp.
“All I Ever Need Is You” is next and is one of those tunes you’ve heard before, but can’t place. It turns out to be a hit for Sonny & Cher (thank God for YouTube, although after watching their effort, perhaps not), although their one didn’t have the same reggae feel as this version does (unless they recorded a Jamaican LP I missed). A timpani roll starts the next one, “Love is All” which was recorded by Malcolm Roberts and Engelbert Humperdinck with the melody written by Les Reed (who my dad was friends with and played drums for over fifty years ago). “Song of Ocarina” next, probably the most famous tune recorded on an Ocarina, although I think this was recorded using the panpipes setting on the Böhm as I’m not sure that instrument made it onto the upgrade (although the original used panpipes too, see YouTube again).
The is a Motown feel on the next track, “I Can See Clearly Now” (…The Rain Has Gone), before we get all soppy with Neil Diamond’s “September Morn” which is only the second version I know of (Penny Weedon did the other on her “Autumn Concerto” CD), which is a surprise as it suits the organ treatment. Time for a drawbar outing next with a “Rock ’n’ Roll Medley” with boogie-woogie bass and a lot of glissandos. It’s nice to hear the Eric Clapton classic “Wonderful Tonight” again, as this one has only made it onto a few sequence dance CDs (mainly as Rhumba, but also as a Tango), so it’s nice to hear it without the constraints that dancing can bring.
The title track next which takes me back to my youth and “Flashdance (What A Feeling)” with a electric guitar lead. The “Sweet Surrender” is not the one by Wet Wet Wet, but by German singer Helene Fischer, who does have a Celine Dion feel about her, as does this tune. The latin contribution next with “Sway” with sax lead and vocal backing and marimbas ‘swaying’ in the background. An Elton John classic next and “I’m Still Standing” which is another one which has only made it to two sequence CDs (both as Jive rhythms). Again, it’s good to hear a version which is more like the original and this is probably my favourite track here. The CD closes with the Christina Aguilera ballad “Hurt” from 2006.
This is a another well made album and as with DirkJan’s previous CDs, he has a knack of picking out tunes that are rare on keyboard CDs as well as ones that are unfamiliar, but are still catchy enough to make you think you know them.
Review by Ian King from Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Magazine.