CD Duration: 59.35 / Year: 2013
2013 release featuring Jack Helyer at the Ritz, Nottingham, George Blackmore at the Ritz, Nuneaton, Trevor Willetts at the Lyric, Wellingborough and Harry Farmer at the West End Cinema, Birmingham.
Recorded at organ club concerts in 1959/60.
Track 1 – Jack Helyer at the Ritz, Nottingham::
I’m Happy When I’m Hiking (Signature Tune)
Opera Off the Cuff (arr. Jack Helyer)
Tritsh Tratsh Polka
Track 2 – George Blackmore at the Ritz, Nuneaton:
Cock o’ the North (Signature Tune)
Dolls on Parade
Cock o’ the North (Reprise)
Track 3 – Trevor Willetts at the Lyric, Wellingborough:
Boy on a Carousel
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Country Life, March
Gypsy Carnival in Novelty Land
We’ll All Go Riding on a Rainbow (Signature Tune)
Track 4 – Harry Farmer at the West End Cinema, Birmingham:
Bells of St. Mary’s
In a Persian Market
Si|ent Film Music Selection: Among My Souvenirs / Get Out and Get Under / Broken Blossoms / When the Midnight Choo Choo Leaves for Alabam
To Be a Farmer’s Boy (Signature Tune)
In the days when Auntie Beeb placed good faith in daily organ broadcasts, it would be fair to say that there was a regular ‘circuit’ of organ venues and their instruments that took the lions share of airtime. Then along came a Midlands area Producer and enthusiasts suddenly began to hear some of the lesser broadcast instruments.
Certainly the ABC owned Lyric at Wellingborough was one: notching up only four 15-minute broadcasts in the whole life of this lovely little Compton 2m 5r & Melotone installation. Also on the ABC circuit was the Ritz, Nuneaton with its slightly larger Compton 3m 5r & Melotone installation. The West End Cinema, Birmingham passed through several ownerships after opening its doors as the Curzon Hall, screening silent movies back in 1899. Whilst under the later ownership of Provincial Cinematograph Theatres a 2m 6r Wurlitzer was installed, and ironically the programme content from this Midlands broadcast reflects the silent movie period.
By far the largest instrument of this quartet was the 4m 20 (unit) 22r and Grand Piano installation by Conacher in the Ritz/Odeon, Nottingham: an instrument of which only three of that size were built, and sadly not one was ever the subject of a preservation scheme!
Of the four artists on this recording it was Jack Helyer who could rightfully be said was a true ‘resident organist’ having been featured at the instrument from his appointment in 1933 until transferring to the Management side of the cinema business in 1955. Harry Farmer, aka Chris Hamalton (see “Organ Celebrities No.8” on my gramrfone YouTube channel) eventually left our shores to take up a radio & TV appointment in Canada. George Blackmore went on to divide his time between pipes and electronics, and Trevor Willetts returned to his native Barnsley where he still played in local clubs.
…Alan Ashton – ORGAN1st Radio (OrganRadio.com)