Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Review by Ian King

Issue 346 – October 2016

Organ Moods (Double CD)
Running Time 1 hour 51 minutes – Price £6.95

Organ Moods
Organ Moods

Speaking of ‘Not Now Music’, they are just on the cusp of releasing another compilation called “Organ Moods” which features forty original electronic organ tracks spread over their usual double CD format. The tracks cover the early Hammond years right through to a track each from Howard Beaumont and John Kyffin, in fact every artist only gets one track each, unless you count pseudonyms (à la Harry Farmer and Chris Hamalton).

The cover has a lovely weird organ photo with the sub-title of “The Expressive Sound of the Electronic Organ” with sleeve notes and compilation duties handed to Alan Ashton who has selected some great tracks. There are the well known organists including, Lenny Dee, Jerry Allen, Eddie Layton, Harold Smart, George Wright, Eric Lord and Glenn Derringer, but there are also lesser-known players including Ray Bohr, Ursula Creber, Ray Colignon, Frank Cammarata, Bruce Denham and Marjorie Meinert. If you’re familiar with Alan Ashton’s gramrfone YouTube channel (just search YouTube for “Organ Celebrities”) you will be aware of many of the artists through his series of video tributes.

This album wasn’t released at the time of writing but will be available by the time you read this magazine. It looks to be a lovely compilation and with a price of just £6.95, it’s can’t be bad.

Issue 347 – November 2016

I gave you a ‘heads-up’ on this release last issue and the CDs duly arrived a couple of days after I uploaded my reviews. Nothing has changed from what I wrote prior to hearing the CD, it still contains forty original tracks with most being new to the digital medium, but the CD does have an earlier feel than I thought it would (based on the list of artists).

With one track each from current players Howard Beaumont and John Kyffin as well as other players who were still releasing LPs in the 1970s (including Glenn Derringer and Eric Lord), I was expecting a wider spectrum of organ sounds, but even the most recent track from John Kyffin was recorded to blend in with the rest, so the whole CD has an early-Hammond feel.

There are several variations to the older Hammond sound including Graeme Wright’s “Scaramouche” which sounds like the 1970s organ LP and Howard Beaumont’s “The Pontinental” which has a couple of verses played with an accordion preset. Another couple of non-Hammond sounding tracks include Ray Willetts’ “Say It With Flowers” which has an oboe in there and Dale Zieger’s “Saucy Suzette” which I have to say does sound more theatre organ to my ears.

Having said all that, it shows the variety of sounds and styles which have been extracted from various Hammond organs in the past eighty-years or so (I think the CDs sub-title of “The Expressive Sound of the Electronic Organ” is probably earned here). There are solo organ tracks, organ and drums/percussion, trios, quartets, organ dancebands and the odd jazzier track. Maybe its good that it’s more of a Hammond CD as that’s one of the few organs with a sound that doesn’t date. You don’t get the clunky rhythm boxes and unreal orchestral sounds which probably are best forgotten.

As with the two recent Klaus CDs, this is again beautifully packaged with a cardboard ‘outer’ around the standard double plastic case with three sides of the booklet written by Alan Ashton (magnifying glasses at the ready people).

FULL TRACKS: The Lonely Road (Jerry Allen TV Trio) • Theme from ‘The World Of Suzie Wong’ (Don Baker) • Sunflower (Mogens Kilde & Arne Dalring) • In Old Shanty Town (Ralph & Buddy Bonds) • I’m Yours (Ray Bohr) • Dizzy Fingers (Al Bollington) • Boston Bounce (Charles Smitton) • The Carioca (Ursula Creber) • Medley: Frenesi / Malagueña / Adios (Ray Colignon) • The Three Caballeros / Tico Tico (Frank Cammarata) • I’ll Never Stop Loving You (Glenn Derringer) • They Can’t Take That Away From Me (Jackie Davis) • Waltzing Bugle Boy (John Kyffin) • I Never Knew (Lenny Dee) • Autumn Leaves (Bruce Denham) • Syncopated Clock (Richard Ellsasser) • Swanee River (Harry Farmer) • Whispers In The Dark (Frederick Feibel) • I’ll See You In My Dreams (Gerhard Gregor) • When Sunny Gets (Earl Grant) • Honky Tonk Train Blues (Milt Herth Trio) • Nola (Chris Hamalton) • Look For The Silver Lining (Dick Hyman Trio) • Sheik of Araby (Don Johnson) • Canary Caprice (Dick Leibert) • Costa Rica (Jimmy Leach & His New Organolians) • Bright Lights of Brussels (E. Layton) • Love In Bloom / How Am I To Know? (E. Lord) • The Pontinental (Howard Beaumont) • Paris In The Spring (Marjorie Meinert) • Mr Sandman / Yellow Rose of Texas / Dreamboat (R. Richmond) • John Peel Boogie (Harold Smart) • On The Sunny Side Of The Street (The 3 Suns) • Because of You (Fele Sowande Rhythm Group) • O Lady Be Good / Whispering / Hometown (Cor Steyn) • Stardust (Ashley Tappen) • Red Hot Mama (George Wright) • Scaramucce (Graeme Wright) • Say It With Flowers (Ray Willetts) • Saucy Suzette (Dale Zieger).

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Review by Ian King from Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Magazine.