1990 release at the Elka C1000 electronic organ. Released on the Audicord label.
Running time: 56.05.
Code: ACD 101.
Swinging Down the Lane
Love is Here to Stay
Puppet on A String
Boom Bang A Bang
The Alley Cat Song
Roses of Picardy
Bad Bad Leroy Brown
ORIGINAL SLEEVE NOTES (1990)
With this first issue on Compact Disc, Mike Hall has entered the world of “Elkanology”. The Elka C1000 is one of the new Concept range and a natural successor to the popular X30 which has featured on Mike’s previous cassette releases. This model has two 61-note manuals, all touch sensitive keyboards and an 18-note pedalboard. A combination of orchestral sounds and drawbars are included and are housed in an ultra-modern console.
It’s hard to believe that Mike’s playing career has now spanned over twenty years, but an early apprenticeship led to him holding down the post of resident organist at the Granada cinema in Grantham while still at school. No mean achievement and made even greater by the fact that when Mike first discovered the Compton, it was in need of much work to the wiring and relays. These were skills that the twelve year old did not possess, but not to be beaten, it was down to the local library for a crash course in electronics. Determination tinged with desperation soon enabled him to read circuit diagrams with the ease of a musical score. Much of this early ‘hands on’ electronic knowledge was to bear fruit in later years when Mike joined Elka as their Concert Artist/Demonstrator, at a time when the world of electronic organs was rapidly expanding into a confusing jargon of chips, integrated circuits and digits.
As the swinging sixties came to an end, the new seventies were to play an important role in shaping Mike’s playing style and career. Theatre organs held few prospects when compared with electronic instruments and so his talent was to be directed to this new musical expansion. Sound advice and given by no lesser personality than Reginald Dixon after hearing Mike play. When reflecting on these years there is one name which Mike will always hold in high esteem. That of Jerry Allen, whose lessons were to provide the cornerstone for a young versatile organist to build upon and whose influence is still evident twenty years later.
The sound of the day was Hammond. and it was after upgrading to a Sharma Elka in 1978, he had already represented Lowrey, Roland and the Dutch based company Riha. The move to Elka coincided with the boom in home organ sales, not only in Britain, but in America too, where Mike toured coast to coast and frequently appeared on radio and television. He was featured on the BBC ‘Organist Entertains’ in 1975 with tapes submitted by himself. Hardly surprising with his involvement in tape recording from an early age. His archives now have recordings of most of his concerts, including theatre organs at Tooting in London, Mansfield and not unnaturally, at Grantham. During this competitive period there would also be visits to the Elka headquarters at Castelfidardo to assist in research and development as new models were introduced.
The advent of the single keyboard brought a decline in organ sales and saw many familiar makers names vanish along with many high street retailers. As the eighties came to a close, 1989 brought social changes, first with his marriage to Frances and second his decision to broaden his horizons by becoming freelance. Good news for organ fans, as Mike will continue to appear at organ concerts as before and while retaining his links with Elka, he has chosen to play Lowrey organs in concerts and demonstrations throughout Britain.
Still very much the innovator, he has pursued the world of video from its inception for home entertainment and mention must be made of the string of tune titles he has written. Often inspired by places visited, like ‘Louisiana Samba’. ‘Fenland Ride’ is of course much closer to home. Finally, the recording itself. As with Mike’s other electronic organ releases, it was made in his own studio using the latest digital technology and without modern gimmickry. A truly solo performance by choice! The producer wishes to thank Fausto Fabi of Elka-Orla (UK) Ltd; for providing the C1000.