2002 release at the Granada Tooting Wurlitzer.
Released on the Audicord label in 2002. Previously released on cassette in 1996.
Taken from the Amberlee Records LP released in 1980, but this CD contains FIVE NEW TRACKS.
Running time: 50.26.
Code: ACD 232.
Bye Bye Blues
Empty Saddles in the Old Coral
Rock-a-Bye Your Baby
Tin Pan Alley Rag
On the Sunny Side of the Street
Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams
Bugle Call Rag
Lullaby of the Leaves
One Dozen Roses
All the Way
I’ve Got Rhythm
Sentimental Gentlemen from Georgia
Original Text from the 1997 Cassette Release (AC232):
This album is a wonderful souvenir of what happened on the day that one of the most popular ever British theatre organists fulfilled his long time wish to record one of the finest instruments in the country. Originally released as LP on the Amberlee record label in 1980, this CD release includes five tracks never previously issued.
Vic Hammett was born in Windsor in 1918. He commenced his musical career as a choirboy at Eton College chapel, also studying piano and organ. Discovering a fascination for the theatre organ, after a few temporary appointments, at the age of 18 he joined Gaumont British, to play at several cinemas in the West End of London. Vic spent most of the war years in an internment camp, after which he rejoined Gaumont British as a featured touring organist. When the use of cinema organs declined, he moved into orchestral work, but with the revival of interest in the theatre organ, due to the various preservation schemes which began in the late 1960s, he was very much in demand for concert work, not only here in Britain, but also in America and Australia. Vic passed away at the end of 1974, whilst still at the height of his popularity.
The Granada Tooting Wurlitzer
This 4-manual, 14-rank organ is one of the two largest Granada Wurlitzers and was installed at Tooting in 1931. Not long after these recordings were made, the magnificent instrument was silenced, when the under-stage chambers were flooded. Ten years were to pass before any restoration was begun, the work being undertaken by members of the London Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society. Although ultimately returned to full working order, the organ cannot be presented publicly, as the console and chambers are entombed under the extended stage. One can only hope that the theatre owners will in time do whatever is necessary to allow it to be seen and heard once again, or allow its relocation in a more suitable venue. Meanwhile, enjoy its marvellous voices again on this CD.
Production: John Greenwood.
Recording: Frank Killinger.
Photograph: John Sharp.