Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Review by Ian King

Issue 344 – July / August 2016

(CD) John Madin – Madin England
Running Time 63 minutes – Price £4.95

John Madin - Madin England
John Madin – Madin England

John Madin was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire in 1912 and started to play the cinema organ at seventeen after lessons on the piano and church organ. He may have started playing on a small scale in Sheffield, but soon had regular work with Granada Theatres, including broadcasts from their flagship cinemas at Clapham Junction and Tooting.

John spent five years in the R.A.F. during World War Two where he was attached to the R.A.F. Central Band, playing at fighter and bomber stations around Britain (with fellow organist Reginald Dixon). He resumed playing theatre organs when he returned with more performances and BBC broadcasts before eventually moving into the electronic organ ‘arena’ where he became a popular figure on the organ circuit.

This new CD is released on Ken Mellor’s “OK Rollem” label which produced Keith Beckingham’s new “Any Other Business” CD last year, as well as many theatre organ archive recordings. The CD is made up of from archive recordings made in 1966 & 1967 at the Granada, Mansfield Wurlitzer and the Regal, Rotherham Conacher.

It’s the first time any of John Madin’s recordings have been available on CD as far as I am aware (even on compilations). Considering most of these recordings are around fifty years old, they are in reasonably good shape. They were recorded in a concert setting, so there is audience noise and the recordings aren’t of the highest quality (which is reflected in the £4.95 price), but there are some nice pieces in here and it does show what a talented organist he was.

FULL TRACKS: At the Granada, Mansfield (Wurlitzer – 3 Manual, 8 Rank, Opus 2192): Hello Dolly / The Stein Song • Smoke Gets In Your Eyes • An Earful Of Music / Little Grey Home In The West / To A Wild Rose • The Wedding March • Trumpet Voluntary / The Opera Box / Barcarolle From The Tales Of Hoffman / William Tell Overture / Rhapsody No.2 / Csárdás / Encore: The Very Thought Of You. At the Regal, Rotherham (Conacher, 3 Manual, 9 Rank): Lara’s Theme / Anchors Aweigh • Selection from Showboat: Old Man River / Only Make Believe / Life Upon the Wicked Stage / Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man O’ Mine / Why Do I Love You / You Are Love • I Dream of Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair / I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman / Forgotten Dreams / Ballet Egyptian / Ave Maria / The Breeze and I / Dreaming / Alexander’s Ragtime Band / Always / Here’s to the Next Time / How Deep is the Ocean / Blue Skies / A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody / There’s No Business Like Show Business.

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Review by Ian King from Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Magazine.