Unknown Fair Organs & Tunes on Old Recordings
by Andrew Barrett (040813 MMDigest)
Summary of replies published in MMDigest.

01b.mp3 (53 kb)  01. "Colonel Bogey March" (Kenneth Alford [F. J. Ricketts]) - Bruder?
02b.mp3 (54 kb)  02. unknown - Trudy (built by David Wasson)?
03b.mp3 (39 kb)  03. unknown - Richter?
04b.mp3 (55 kb)  04. "Stein Song" (University of Maine) - Bruder?
05b.mp3 (61 kb)  05. unknown -?
06b.mp3 (65 kb)  06. "Anchors Aweigh" (Miles and Zimmermann) - same organ as track 1?
07b.mp3 (69 kb)  07. "Blaze Away", march (Holzmann) -112 Key Carl Frei
08b.mp3 (64 kb)  08. "South of the Border" (Kennedy & Carr) - Flushing Meadows Organ?
09b.mp3 (63 kb)  09. unknown - same organ as track 2.

10b.mp3 (67 kb)  10. unknown - 38er Ruth?
11b.mp3 (65 kb)  11. "In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus" (Wiga Gabriel) - Bruder? Wrede?
12b.mp3 (54 kb)  12. "Luna Park March" (Carl Frei?) - Bruder? 36er Ruth?
13b.mp3 (55 kb)  13. "Snow Waltz"/"Schneewalzer" - Dutch street organ?
14b.mp3 (70 kb)  14. unknown - same organ as track 8.
15b.mp3 (68 kb)  15. unknown - 112 key Carl Frei
16b.mp3 (66 kb)  16. "Fredericus-Rex-Grenadiermarsch" (Ferdinand Radeck) - ?
17b.mp3 (52 kb)  17. "Wien Bleibt Wien Marsch"/"Vienna Forever March" (Schrammel) - Richter?
18b.mp3 (51 kb)  18. "Cuckoo Waltz" - Gebr. Bruder model 107?
19b.mp3 (62 kb)  19. unknown - ?

20b.mp3 (53 kb)  20. "Olympic Bob Galop (?)" - 112 Key Carl Frei
21b.mp3 (92 kb)  21. unknown (my favorite!) - 38er Ruth?
22b.mp3 (55 kb)  22. "Carmen" Medley (Bizet, arr.?) - Flushing Meadows Organ? (not same as track 8)
23b.mp3 (60 kb)  23. unknown - crisp sounding unknown organ
24b.mp3 (62 kb)  24. Cowboy songs medley overture, incl. "Home on the Range" (trad.; arr.?) - 112 Key Carl Frei
25b.mp3 (57 kb)  25. unknown - same organ as track 22?
26b.mp3 (52 kb)  26. unknown - same organ as track 21.
27b.mp3 (73 kb)  27. "España" (Charbrier, arr. Waldteufel, arr.?) - Wilhelm Bruder?
28b.mp3 (67 kb)  28. unknown-???
29b.mp3 (74 kb)  29. "Rosamunde"/"Beer Barrel Polka" (Will Glahe) - Wrede?
30b.mp3 (61 kb)  30. "Lili Marleen" (Norbert Schultze) - ?
31b.mp3 (67 kb)  31. "Can-Can" (Offenbach) - same organ as track 5.

All files above are MP3 20 kBit/s, 11.025 kHz, stereo, encoded using Audioactive Production Studio.
N.B.:  The same book-music arrangement, but played by different organs, might be heard on old recordings.

About 10 years ago, I used to ride the Central Park carousel regularly.  My mom and I were familiar with one of the operators, Mr. Anthony Simpson, and one day he presented me with a tape he made of various fair organs.

What he said about it was interesting.  I vaguely remember him saying something to the effect of, "There was an organ rally at Flushing Meadows park in Queens several years ago, and I taped the organs there."  This is strange, because I don't remember reading about any kind of organ rally in any of the parks in New York City in anything I've come across.  Even if it was before I was born, I think I would have at least heard about it!  However, I am probably mis-remembering it; there is a large organ rally held every year or so in North Tonawanda -- this may be where he recorded some of the organs.

He also said something like "listen for an organ named 'Trudy'."  This remark is strange, since there are no organs or tunes listed on the tape, and what significance would that have to me?  It wasn't until about 1996, while reading the Carousel News and Trader, that I discovered that 'Trudy' is in fact a fantastic truck-mounted organ built by Mr. David Wasson, formerly of San Diego.  One year later, I would attend my first organ rally and hear this organ in person.

The tape has no markings other than this notation on the end of the box and the label on the cassette itself:  "Carousel music mix - various band organs courtesy of Flushing Meadow Carousel, NY."

No tunes are listed, nor are any organs specifically named.  I would venture a guess that some of the music was taken from LP's existing at the carousel in Flushing Meadow park in Queens, and the rest was recorded "live" at an organ rally.  That's how it sounds to me, anyway.  I would like to know which LP's the tunes come from, so I can look for them.

Almost all the organs on this cassette are European, or at least sound like it, and for the most part the arrangements are superb.  I have been able to identify 15 of the tunes on the tape, as well as two of the organs: one is definitely a 112-key Carl Frei, while another is a Ruth, possibly a model 38.  In all, there are 31 tunes on the cassette.

I loved this tape so much that it is nearly worn-out from being played very often for about eight years!  It was lost during the last move over a year ago, and I only just recently dug it out.  Seeing that it was only good for a handful of plays before it wore out, I carefully transferred it to two CDs using a rack-mounted CD burner.  Then, after making a list of all the tunes I could positively identify and their track numbers, I saved the tracks of the first CD on the computer as MP3 files, using RealPlayer v10.

Since there are 16 unidentified tracks, and I haven't yet saved the second CD, I will mail a CD of the tunes to MMD to see if anyone can identify the organs and titles, along with the composers and dates, if possible.  There is one tune on here that is very important to me, and I have to know who the composer is!  It is a beautiful melody, while the rest of the tune is stylistically at odds with itself, yet I am sure that it is one tune and not a medley.

Track 2: Unidentified.  This is the organ I thought could be Trudy, because it sounds homemade.  Also, the bells sound like Trudy's bells.  This might be an earlier version of Trudy, not the large professional sounding 98-keyless organ I'm used to.

Track 5: Unknown.  This sounds to me like a folk dance tune, possibly Russian or Eastern European.

Track 9: Unknown.  Same organ as track 2.

Track 10: Unknown.  This is a Spanish or Mexican song, or at least an old tin-pan-alley song in that style.  Sounds very familiar to me.  The organ is almost certainly a Ruth, possibly a model 38, and in fine form.

Track 14: Unknown.  This organ has a triangle, but no drums that I can hear.  I think this could be the Flushing Meadows organ, though it doesn't sound much like the LP I have of it, recorded while the carousel was at the 1964 World's Fair.

Track 15: Unknown.  This is a spooky tune, played by the 112-key Carl Frei.

Track 21: Unknown.  (same organ as track 10).  This is the most important track on the tape to me.  It sounds like an overture or intermezzo to an operetta to me.  No one who has listened to this has been able to tell me what it's called, what show it's from (if indeed it's from an operetta), or even who wrote it.  I have had suggestions that it could be written by: Sigmund Romberg, Victor Herbert, or Albert Ketelbey, but the last two sound more likely.  However, the first part (there are three parts) sounds very German and gothic to me.  The second part, with its syncopation, sounds very much as if it's from an American show.  But it is the trio which beguiles me and sounds familiar to some of the people who have listened to it.  It is a simple, pretty melody which sounds as if it could be sung by a solo soprano, then gradually joined by the rest of the singers for the big finale.  Even if you don't know any of the other tunes, even if you don't care, at least try to help me out with this.  I would like to know the title, composer, and genre, as well as the operetta it's from (if it's from an operetta).  Thank you very kindly.

Track 23: Unknown.  This is a snappy march played on one of the nicest, most crisp-sounding little organs I have ever heard.  I don't care so much about the title of this tune as to the make and model of the organ!

Thank you very much,
Andrew Barrett
12 Aug 2004 23:39:09 -0700


23 August 2004