2019 CD release of his 1976 Amberlee LP (AML308) (aka “Masters of the Organ: Volume 8) and the 1987 Audicord Cassette (AC200). Playing the Wurlitzer Organ of The Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn, London.
When checking the master reel-to-reels, there was another reel of material which was not included on the LP or later cassette (which is presumably unreleased). These have all been digitally remastered, with a little of the talking and outtakes included for general interest.
Running time: 64’35”
45’30” (Original LP) + 19’05” (Bonus Material).
Digitally remastered from the original master tapes. This is the first time this recording has been available in a CD format.
ORIGINAL LP TRACKS (Digitally Remastered in 2019):
I’ll See You In My Dreams (Signature Tune) (0:47)
The Shadow Of Your Smile (2:59)
You’re The Cream in My Coffee (3:51)
La Paloma (3:29)
On A Slow Boat To China (2:34)
S’wonderful / You Are My Lucky Star / Singing In The Rain (3:56)
Because You’re Mine / Be My Love (6:19)
Here’s That Rainy Day (4:16)
Her Name Is Mary (4:15)
Ting A-Ling (2:46)
I’ll Always Be In Love With You (4:54)
If You Knew Susie (2:03)
UNRELEASED BONUS TRACKS FROM THE SAME SESSION:
Beautiful Dreamer (Bonus Track) (4:31)
Somewhere A Voice Is Calling (Bonus Track) (3:24)
Misty (First Take Introduction) (Bonus Track) (0:18)
Misty (Bonus Track) (2:51)
My Heart and I (Bonus Track) (3:08)
Singing In The Rain (Bonus Track) (2:46)
If You Knew Susie (Various Cuts) (Bonus Track) (2:11)
Digital remastering by MSS Studios 2019.
ORIGINAL AMBERLEE RECORDS LP SLEEVE NOTES (1976)
HUBERT SELBY was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, in 1911. He studied pianoforte and theory of music under Mrs Milton Rose, ARCO, ATCL, and was organist of a local church at 13. He trained as a theatre organist with Frank Newman, FRCO, and toured as guest organist for Gaumont-British before taking up residency at the County Cinema Sutton in 1931. This was the first unit organ to be opened in Great Britain (in 1921) and was a Compton ‘Kinestra’ of 14 ranks on 3 manuals. During this time Hubert was also Assistant Organist at the New Victoria, London at the Compton 3/15 opened by Reginald Foort. In 1936 he joined Union Cinemas as Guest Organist and toured the circuit until 1938 when he became variety accompanist and solo organist for Odeon Theatres. He played Haverstock Hill among others and became resident organist at the Paramount Manchester in 1939, where he began broadcasting. He was the guest organist for Granada in 1940 and served in the RAMC from 1940 to 1946, during which time he broadcast on “All India Radio”.
In January 1946, Hubert was demobilised and appointed resident organist at the Ritz (ABC) Ipswich. During this time the Hubert Selby Fan Club was formed and this later formed the nucleus of the idea of a Cinema Organ Society. He spent a year in Australia and returned to be appointed resident organist at the Ritz, Birkenhead at the newly-installed 3/8 Christie, which replaced a 4c/12 Compton destroyed in the blitz. In 1951 he returned to ABC as touring organist, and in 1956 opened the new ABC Television Studios in Didsbury with a Sunday evening show called ‘Time for Melody’. He introduced the Hammond Organ to ABC Cinemas and, after some years in ‘Clubland’, became a touring demonstrator for Hammond Organ U.K. He became Manager of Churchill’s, the principal music centre for Bristol and the West and appeared regularly at concerts for the Cinema Organ Society and other associations up and down the country. He is presently in Australia playing both electronic and pipe organs. He is President of the Cinema Organ Society, which he founded in 1952.
THE GAUMONT STATE THEATRE, KILBURN, LONDON
The Gaumont State Kilburn, designed by George Coles, was heralded as the ‘Largest Cinema in Europe’ when it opened with a seating capacity of over 4,000 in 1937. The Cinema News and Property Gazette said: “The exterior and interior treatments are in two distinct styles; the former has the severe straight lines of an American Skyscraper, while the interior could hardly be more opulent.” The restaurant was capable of catering for 400, there was a dance floor and backstage there were 20 dressing rooms each with its own shower. The crystal chandelier in the 230’ deep entrance hall was a replica of that in the Banqueting Hall at Buckingham Palace. Since its opening, the theatre has of course undergone alterations, the principal one being the bricking off of the stalls underneath the circle. This area, together with the old stalls waiting room and ‘feed’ area is now a Bingo Theatre. The former restaurant has now been converted into a small second cinema.
Gaumont-British took over the uncompleted building from the Hyams Brothers, who had commissioned Quentin Maclean to design a 4 manual, 16 rank Wurlitzer for this, their greatest theatre venture. The instrument, Works No. 2215, was installed in two chambers on the left of the auditorium, the console being placed on a revolving lift to the extreme right of the orchestra pit. The organ well is covered by a motorised flexible hatch when not in use. The theatre opened on 20th December 1937 with Gracie Fields as the star, Vic Oliver compering the stage show, and Sidney Torch at the organ.
THE ORGAN OF THE GAUMONT STATE THEATRE, KILBURN
The Wurlitzer organ was designed by the late Quentin McLean and contains 16 ranks of pipes played from a 4 manual console on a revolving lift. The ranks are:
English Horn 16′
French Trumpet 8′
Tuba Mirabilis 8′
Tibia 1 16′
Open Diapason 8′
Harmonic Flute 4′
Tuba Horn 16′
Vox Humana 8′
Viol d’Orchestre 8′
Viol Celeste 8′
Tibia 2 8′
Diaphonic Diapason 16′
Concert Flute 16′
A grand piano originally fitted has now been removed.
The Theatre opened on 20th December 1937, with Sidney Torch at the Organ. He remained here for some time making a number of records and broadcasts.
He was followed by Rudy Lewis, Terence Casey, Bobby Pagan and Louis Mordish.
FRONT COVER PAINTING AND DESIGN ORLEAN LAMAS
SLEEVE NOTES TONY MOSS
COVER PHOTOGRAPH JOHN FOSKETT
RECORDING ENGINEER: JOHN BALES
RECORDED BY ‘STUDIO REPUBLIC’ MOBILE UNIT
PRODUCED BY JOHN PETERS
The producer wishes to thank Rank Leisure Services Ltd. and Mr W. Weir, the General Manager of the theatre for their help and co-operation in making this recording possible.
© 1976 AMBERLEE RECORDS LTD.
ORIGINAL AUDICORD CASSETTE SLEEVE NOTES (1986)
MR. PRESIDENT ENTERTAINS
Hubert Selby needs no introduction to cinema organ enthusiasts, for not only was he an accomplished player from the halcyon days of the theatre organ, but he was one of the founder members of the Cinema Organ Society, becoming President until his death in 1985. His first appointment after joining the Gaumont British circuit was at Finsbury Park, later moving to Sutton. There was a period with Union Cinemas before linking up with Odeon in 1937 and before being called up for war service was resident at the Odeon, Manchester. In 1946 he joined the ABC circuit and was appointed to the Ritz, Ipswich. He perhaps became best known for this post, it being his home town and his original playing career had begun at the Regent Cinema there. Like so many other organists, Hubert moved to the world of electronic organs when the decline of the cinemas began, becoming a demonstrator for Hammond Organs. He never lost his love of the cinema organ and was readily available to play for society meetings when he could. Even after settling in Australia his playing days were not over and he was in constant touch with the many friends he had made
Original recording by John Bales of Studio Republic Ltd.
© 1987 Audicord Records.
Keith Beckingham Review from The Cinema Organ Society Journal.
Reproduced with permission – cinema-organs.org.uk
I first heard Hubert Selby play during the opening concert of Alan Hickling’s 2/9 Wurlitzer at Dormston House, in 1957. He followed Gerald Shaw — not an enviable task — and yet, his distinctive and melodious style appealed to me greatly. I had no idea that, some years later, Hubert would be working with me at Hammond Organ (UK) Ltd — where he took to promotional work like the proverbial duck takes to water.
For reasons unknown, I never heard the original Amberlee LP released in 1976 or the subsequent cassette issued by Audicord in 1987. I am therefore grateful to Ian King at MSS Studios for making this available as a CD. Ian advised me that the transfer is not ‘enhanced’ and on my home equipment it sounds fine.
Hubert always enjoyed the Maclean designed 4/16 Wurlitzer at Kilburn and this recording captures his enthusiasm at that instrument. He starts with his signature tune ‘I’ll See You in My Dreams’ followed by ‘The Shadow of Your Smile’ Hubert was influenced by Jesse Crawford and this is apparent in several tracks including “You’re the Cream in my Coffee’ and ‘Ting-a-ling’.
Although titled ‘Mr President Entertains’, the content is set in a romantic mood with items such as ‘Because You’re Mine’, ‘Be My Love’ and ‘I’ll Always Be in Love With You.’ The Kilburn Tibias are featured in ‘Here’s That Rainy Day’ and it is interesting to hear Hubert’s use of tremulated English Horn on several tracks. Whilst this is sometimes frowned upon in modern theatre organ circles, organists such as Hubert and Jackie Brown often used this to good effect.
Hubert’s other musical influence was, of course, Harold Ramsay — whose composition ‘Her Name is Mary’ is played with feeling and includes the verse.
The original recording concludes with a humorous arrangement of ‘If You Knew Susie, featuring a cheeky 8’ pedal reed. I say the ‘original’ recording (Running Time 45’30”) because the CD includes some additional items (Running Time 19’05”) recorded during the same session but not included on the original LP. These include talk-back between the producer and Hubert, a false start to ‘Misty’ and a rehearsal of ‘If You Knew Susie’ — all very atmospheric, if you like that sort of thing.
However, among the additional items, I greatly enjoyed ‘Beautiful Dreamer’ — a fascinating example of Crawford/Ramsay phrasing which so typifies Hubert’s playing style. ‘Somewhere a Voice is Calling’ is played with feeling and lush Tibias.
In conclusion, this is what I would describe as quality mainstream organ playing in a style we don’t hear so much of today.
The original sleeve notes written by Tony Moss are also reproduced and include a summary of Hubert’s career and the history of the Gaumont State.
Hubert and Tony were, of course, the ‘founding fathers’ of the COS and I know they would both be pleased to see how the society has evolved. From a personal standpoint, I miss them both.
This CD has provided an enjoyable trip down Memory Lane and the way things were.
A full list of titles, details for obtaining a download version and a chance to order the CD (price £8.95 plus £1.50 P&P) may be obtained online at ORGANS.uk or from MSS Studios, Cae Deintur, Dolgellau. LL40 2YS (UK).
Reproduced with permission from the COS Journal. cinema-organs.org.uk