CD Duration: 58.54 / Year: 2011
2011 release of three organs from Yorkshire’s Ridings recorded in 1966.
TOMMY DANDO at the Conacher organ in The Regal, Rotherham:
Get Me to the Church on Time / Edelweiss / Medley from “Perchance to Dream” / The Night They Invented Champagne / Thank Heaven for Little Girls / I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore / Getting to Know You
The Regal March
HUBERT SELBY at the Wurlitzer organ in Dale Hall, Hampsthwaite:
My Wonderful One / My Billy Boy
The Sound of Music: Do Re Mi / My Favourite Things / Edelweiss / Climb Every Mountain / The Lady is a Tramp / There’s No Business Like Show Business
In the Mood / Twelfth Street Rag
CHARLES SMITTON at the Wurlitzer Odeon, Leeds:
April in Paris / April in Portugal / I’ll Remember April / April Showers
Selection from the Musical Comedy Chu Chin Chow
In a Harbour Town (From the Suite “South of the Alps”)
We have to indulge the Producer and play along with the notion that the organ locations represent the three former Ridings of Yorkshire. In reality, they all fell into the old West Riding. However, just relax and enjoy the entertainment from three performers who came from the heyday of cinema organs.
First up, and the eldest, being born in 1902, Tommy Dando was a showman and a great wit. His Lancashire humour being the mainstay of many of his broadcasts. You can’t help smiling as he suddenly starts singing along in the middle of that old Maurice Chevalier number, “I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore”. Even funnier, he forgets where he is and starts chatting to the audience. Never lost for words he was known to many as just ‘Dando’, which is how he often signed himself.
Hubert Selby was born in Ipswich in 1911 and will, perhaps, always be remembered for his long residency at the Ritz there. Like many other organists, his career was interrupted in 1939 and it would be six years later before normality returned to his playing life. Much of his war service was in the far east and he was to be a regular performer on “All India Radio,” playing both theatre and electronic organs. He became a guiding light in the formation of the Cinema Organ Society of which he became President. During the 1960s he was a regular performer at club concerts and made several tours to Australia where he was to settle permanently in 1978. He died in 1985.
The youngest of our trio is Charles Smitton. He was born in Liverpool on the 4th of November, 1925.He was described as an exceptional pupil on church organ at the age of 10. By the age of 15, he was given his first paid appointment. This was at the Curzon, Liverpool where he succeeded his teacher, Henry Croudson. He was to become probably the youngest regular broadcaster on the cinema organ in Great Britain. His great friend and fellow organist, Eric Lord (who also hailed from Lancashire) once said of him “that he went to bed with a smile, and woke up with a smile”.
After his post at the Curzon, he joined Gaumont British at Manchester, later going on to the Gaumont, Worcester. In 1946 he moved to the Gaumont, Wood Green, London. He returned to Manchester and became the last full time organist at the Odeon. During the 1950s, much of his career was spent playing electronic and pipe organ, often in an orchestral setting, although he was always available for organ club concerts. Ill health was to bring an end to his career at an all too early age.
ORGAN INFORMATION (Based on the original installation):
The Regal, Rotherham: Conacher 3-9 Lift, illuminated console.
Dale Hall, Hampsthwaite: Wurlitzer 3c-8 (originally the Gaumont, Oldham)
The Odeon, Leeds: Wurlitzer 3-19 Lift, divided.
Sleeve Notes by Ken Mellor.
Recording Engineers: Les Brumpton & Ken Mellor.
Production Co-ordinator: David Angrave.