2022 release at the 65-Key Gaudin Victory Fair Organ.
The original 1970 LP released on the Amberlee Records label in 1970 (AFL 101X). Previously released as a cassette on the Audicord label in 1987.
This was Volume 1 of their “Fairtime Organ Series”.
Digitally remastered from the original master tapes.
Running time: 46.44.
Code: ACD 189.
Alexander’s Ragtime Band / The Galloping Major / Easter Parade
Buona Sera / Yes Sir, That’s My Baby / The Bells Are Ringing / My Blue Heaven / I’ll See You In My Dreams / That Coal Black Mammy / I’m Looking Over A 4-Leaf Clover / On The Street Where You Live /
By The Light Of The Silvery Moon / My Romeo / Romona /
Charmaine / She Loves You
The Showman’s March
Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty / Miss Annabelle Lee / Ma, He’s Making Eyes At Me
Dinah / Lady Of Spain
Selections From “Mary Poppins”
Stumbling / Poppa Piccolino / The Gay Gordons
William Tell – Overture
ORIGINAL 1970 LP COVER NOTES BY MIKE FINCHAM
The Fairground organ was introduced to this country in the form of barrel organs in the middle of the nineteenth century. In the late 1890s an Italian named Gavioli developed and patented, at his Paris works, a system whereby mechanical organs could greatly increase their repertoire without the task of changing the pinned barrel. The basis of the system was that a row of keys was installed in a mechanism where a “book” of perforated card was passed over them to play the tune. This system brought about a complete change in the fairground organs of the day. Instead of the organs playing only six tunes all day long, the showmen could choose any tune that they thought their customers would like.
The organs ranged in size from the 28-key organ in a children’s ride to the massive 110 or 112-key organs that formed the front of Bioscope and Novelty Shows and Scenic Rides. The organ on this record was used in a ride that has never lost popularity — The Galloping Horses.
THE 65-KEY VICTORY GAUDIN FAIR ORGAN
The Victory fairground organ was built by the Paris firm of Gaudin about the time of the First World War. In its original form the organ was only a 59-key instrument. It came to England early in 1919 to the works of Chiappa Ltd. of London who converted it to its present 65 keys which greatly increased its tonal range.
The organ consists of five operating registers — Piccolo and Dulcimer; Clarinet: Saxophone; Violin; Trombone — containing the following selection of pipes — Piccolo, Stopped Flute, Open Flute, Reed Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone (both Reed and Flue), Violin, Reed Trombone and Stopped Bourdon.
In addition to the registered pipes, the organ has a percussion section consisting of a Bass Drum, Cymbal and a Snare Drum. The Bandmaster figure on the front of the organ has three movements, the right arm holding the baton beats in time to the bass drum, the left arm and head are linked to the clarinet register, the head moving to the left and the arm down when the register is cancelled and vice versa.
The organ was sold to Bob Wilson, a Midland showman, to provide music for his ride, “Bob Wilson & Sons Grand Midland Victory Galloping Horses” — hence the name “Victory”. During Its first year travelling with the gallopers, the organ stood alongside the ride until a proper organ truck could be built.
The ride was later sold to Mr. Raymond Beardow for his amusement site at Woburn Abbey, the home of the Duke of Bedford. The organ was overhauled in 1963 by Chiappa Ltd., who still do most of the maintenance work and supply the music “books”. Also supplying music is Arthur Prinsen, the famous Continental Noteur of Brasschat, Belgium.
The organ was sold for preservation in 1965 to an enthusiast in Hemel Hempstead, Herts., who owned it until it was purchased by Mr. Chris Edmonds of Owlswick, Bucks., in January 1969. Mounted on a coach-sprung trailer, the organ now travels the country attending traction engine rallies, fairs, carnivals, etc., and appears regularly at the Museum of Transport, Clapham on special Open Days.
The repertoire of this fine organ ranges from the Beatles to grand opera, covering music hall songs, vintage popular tunes and film music. The music “books”, which are completely hand made, are of the folding cardboard type with holes punched according to the tune to be played. These books are passed through the key frame where a row of keys are positioned between two rollers. Where there is a hole or slot in the music book, the key rises, opening a valve which in turn allows air to enter the appropriate pipe or pipes, thus making it sound. The life of a music book can be anything up to 40 years if handled properly. Total playing time of all the tunes in the Victory organ is nearly 4.5 hours without repeat.
Originally the organ was supplied with wind by a pair of bellows; the key frame rollers which draw the music books through were worked by a catgut belt driven from the crankshaft of the bellows action. This action was driven by a belt from a small steam donkey engine mounted on the main driving engine of the fairground ride.
The bellows action was later removed and a centrifugal blower installed, the blower being driven by a two h.p. electric motor and with this alteration the wind pressure was increased giving a much more robust tone. The key frame rollers are now driven by an eighth h.p. motor with a reduction gear to drive the rollers at 35 r.p.m. A rheostat is provided in order to vary the speed of the rollers according to the meter of the music.