CD Duration: 58.05 / Year: 2012
2012 release containing archive recordings from 1959/1960 on the Wurlitzer of the Empress Ballroom, Blackpool.
On the Prom, Prom, Prom, Prom, Promenade (Signature Tune)
Children of the Regiment / Music from The Arcadians: Arcadians Are We / The Pipes of Pan / Joy of Life / Charming Weather
Blackpool Express / Get Go’in’ / Orient Express / Roses of Picardy / Love Sends a Little Gift of Roses
Memories of Jesse Matthews: Over My Shoulder / When You’ve Got a Little Springtime in Your Heart / My Hat’s on the Side of My Head / We’ll All Go Riding on a Rainbow / The World is Waiting for the Sunrise / Brown Bird Singing / Bird Song at Eventide
Smiling Through / When You’re Smiling / Ay Ay Ay / Baby Face / Empress Samba
Twilight in Turkey / Tonight’s the Night / Smash and Grab / Tiger Rag
Memories Live Longer Than Dreams / Goodnight / Signature Tune (reprise)
An earlier release on this label featured tracks by organist Horace Finch derived from BBC analogue (pre-FM) transmissions. There were inevitable transmission blips in the recordings, despite being captured on a professional Ferrograph reel-to-reel recorder. The majority, of what OK Rollem Productions hope you enjoy on this follow up release, are taken from the best of those remaining tapes which passed to me for safe keeping many years ago. Although the actual magnetic tape was of a professional quality, the time had come to save the tracks before it was too late, and with computer programming I’ve been able to remove some of the minor transmission faults.
I always considered Horace Finch to be the most versatile of the Blackpool organists of those days gone by, basically because he’d both a distinctive style and sound, aided in no small way by the acoustics of the Empress Ballroom. Neither must one forget his musical humour and manual dexterity that is displayed on many of these tracks. His late night broadcasts when the BBC would ostensibly have us believe that Horace was actually playing the WurliTzer all alone in a darkened ballroom are also represented here. He was indeed Blackpool’s ACE organist.
The organ in the Empress Ballroom came originally from the Tower Ballroom, when that was being replaced. It was enlarged to become a twin of the Tower organ and was opened by Horace Finch in April 1935. in 1970 it was moved to the BBC Playhouse Theatre in Manchester and was in regular use until 1988. It’s sale to owners in the south of England led to hopes of a new venue for this famous organ, but these were dashed when it was announced that the organ was to be dismantled and parts used to enlarge the existing Wurlitzer in the Assembly Rooms, Worthing. However, the former console of the Empress organ remains in private ownership and plans are already being made for the possible re-installation of an organ in the Empress Ballroom, Blackpool. Sadly, this may not be a Wurlitzer.