CD Duration: 55.31 / Year: 2015
Brand new CD recorded in 2015 at the Town Hall Ossett Compton/Christie (following the Annual General Meeting of the Theatre Organ Club).
SHOWBOAT SELECTION: Only Make Believe / Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man O’ Mine / Bill, Why Do I Love You / Ol’ Man River
WALTZING THROUGH EUROPE: Tulips from Amsterdam / Vienna, City of My Dreams / Wunderbar / Under the Bridges of Paris / Wonderful Wonderful Copenhagen
We’ll Gather Lilacs
MEMORIES OF MATT MONRO & EDMUND HOCKRIDGE: Portrait of My Love / From Russia with Love / Hey There / If I Loved You
ROMANCE IN THE AIR: Guilty / Time After Time / I’m Old Fashioned / You’re My Everything / Be My Love
SOUTH PACIFIC SELECTION: Bali Ha’i / I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair / There is Nothing Like a Dame / This Nearly Was Mine / Some Enchanted Evening / I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy
This is My Lovely Day
TWO LOVELY GIRLS: The Girl from Ipanema / Sweet Georgia Brown
For All We Know
JACKIE BROWN TRIBUTE: John Brown’s Body / Great Day / Among My Souvenirs / Speak Low / If I Had You / Sweet September / Falling in Love with Love / Lover / The Song is You
We’ll Meet Again (With Audience Participation).
Any Other Business
It had been a good number of years since I had heard Keith play a theatre organ, so attending the Theatre Organ Club’s Annual General Meeting at Ossett was an enjoyable occasion, not only leading to the issue of this CD, but a chance to meet again after a lapse of 29 years, when we collaborated in producing a cassette (remember those?). This featured the former Empress Ballroom Wurlitzer when it was installed in the BBC Playhouse Theatre, Manchester on one side and two Hammond models on the other. The cassette was marketed under the now ‘cheesy’ sounding title of; Two Sides of Keith Beckingham.
Keith is equally at home on both pipes and electronics and of course he worked for Hammond for 26 years in the UK, Europe and around the world. As an example, whilst responsible for European marketing he had a territory which stretched from Helsinki in the north to Athens in the south, recalled in his selection, ‘Waltzing Through Europe’. Nevertheless, he began his career at the consoles of many cinema organs and appropriately, one of the first was at the ABC/Regal at Beckenham, which at that time could add Kent to it’s postal address.
He commenced broadcasting in 1968 from that revered and ornate shrine to the age of the talkies, the Granada, Tooting, London and followed this with broadcasts from other Granada cinemas at Harrow, Clapham Junction and Kingston upon Thames. With such an illustrious quartet of Wurlitzer organs to build one’s future career upon, it may well have led to Keith’s now almost unique style of what some have come to refer to as a ‘ballad’ technique which explores the melody and harmony in an almost impish way before returning to the main musical content, be it a popular song or something more dignified by composers who have long been out of fashion. All in all a refreshing change to some of the ‘bouncy’ interpretations now to be found in a seemingly ever growing repertoire of theatre organists.
Keith’s tribute to that fine organist, Jackie Brown, is an ideal illustration of his ‘modus operandi’ as he pays homage to a player who he readily admits gave him much inspiration in his formative years. To parody the final tune. I hope we do meet again.
…Ken Mellor (OK Rollem Productions).
Cover Photograph by Wayne Ivany.
Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Review by Ian King
New theatre organ CDs are few and far between these days, in fact this is the first new one since Robert Wolfe’s “At Last” a year ago. This recording was made at the Town Hall Ossett Compton/Christie following the Annual General Meeting of the Theatre Organ Club (hence the clever “Any Other Business” title). It was produced by Ken Mellor who has many organ albums under his belt, from the thirty-eight CDs on his latest ‘OK Rollem‘ label to his earlier recordings as the founder of the Audicord label. Many of his OK Rollem releases have been produced from recordings made in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s from organists including Trevor Willetts, George Blackmore, Eric Lord, Ernest Broadbent, Doreen Chadwick, Norman Scott, Horace Finch and Bryan Rodwell. Most of these were recorded at live venues throughout the UK.
This is Ken’s first new recording since Mike Hall’s “That Old Hammond Sound” in 2011 and comes twenty-nine years after he last recorded Keith for a cassette on his Audicord label (of which we took over the organ ‘arm’ from John Greenwood ten years ago), that was his popular “Two Sides of Keith Beckingham” release which had two Hammonds on one side and the former Empress Ballroom Wurlitzer on the other (remember when recordings had ‘sides’?)
Keith began his broadcasting career in 1968 at the Granada, Tooting and many other broadcasts followed including other Granada cinemas including Harrow, Clapham Junction and Kingston upon Thames. Ken’s liner notes talk of Keith’s ‘ballad’ technique style which explores the melody and harmony before returning to the main musical content, as opposed to the more ‘bouncier’ interpretations of many modern players. Keith pays an eleven-minute tribute to one of his organist heroes, Jackie Brown, who shaped much of his playing and was an inspiration in his formative years.
This is a lovely recording with a nice mix of pieces and impeccable playing. Seven of the eleven tracks are ‘selections’, with just four one-song tracks; “We’ll Gather Lilacs”, “This is My Lovely Day”, “For All We Know” and “We’ll Meet Again”. This last one features some audience participation (although this was asked for, they didn’t just join in on their own accord). Apart from that track and although recorded live, the audience can only really be heard when they’re supposed to (i.e. polite clapping at the end).
The selections are much more than just the basic medleys you hear nowadays, they contain impressive introductions and they blend beautifully from piece to piece. At a bargain price of just £4.95, this is a must for any theatre organ collection.
Review by Ian King from Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Magazine.