Wednesday, August 5, 2015

This summer's soundtrack

My uncle sold us his stereo and record collection along with his cottage, and using them has turned out to be one of the most fun things about every summer.  Apart from the thrill of amazing the kids in the neighbourhood, who had mostly never seen a turntable, we are justified now in buying a lot of music I would never have considered back when I was growing up with LPs and record needles.  Case in point:

This year's favourite, 'By A Waterfall', a collection of sentimental favourites performed on a Wurlitzer organ.

And not just any Wurlitzer.

This very pretty instrument provided music in a theatre, and then a church, and finally in the home of Gordon and Thelma Gillette of Niagara Falls, Ontario.  To quote the back of the album, it got into their house "by taking out the floor of one bedroom, which gave them a chamber 11 x 11 x 17 feet high.  It plays through shutters into the living room."  Many friends helped them.  (no kidding!)

Can't help wondering how the presence of an organ in the house affected resale.

Frank Olsen, the UK artist responsible for all this music, is also quite a find.  He was playing organ at services in his local church from age five, and went on to be a hugely successful theatre and cinema organist.  He made a living by playing and teaching popular organ music, and man, you can hear why he was so popular!

The possibly odd thing is the association we're making at the moment between summer fun and a big ol' Wurlitzer.  Especially given the completely accurate criticism I found, which notes that since the recording was made in a home in Niagara Falls it's too bad the microphone was in Guelph.

But: not odd.  Between the lack of sound clarity and the rollicking playing style, it's like the cottage turns into an old-time amusement park every time the needle goes down.  And with old hits like Near You, Jeepers Creepers, and Are You Lonesome Tonight?, it's hard to imagine the summer will ever end.

Who doesn't want that?

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