Hal Shutz-Organ and Firelight

December just keeps rolling along with this little record, which I purchased for $3.  At the time, I was on an organ kick. So much so, that around the time of this purchase, I also bought a $40 keyboard.  With 120 sounds, I was really hoping for some decent organ tones, especially a good Hammond sound.  However, I was also realistic due to the fact that this was  $40 keyboard.  I am not going to say I was disappointed as I got what I paid for but the Hammond tone just really is not that great.  But seriously, what do you expect for $40?

Anyway, back to this album, which was released by Columbia in 1956 by one Hal Shutz of San Francisco.  The only thing I could really dig up on Shutz was this clip below from the Lawrence Welk Show, not that I tried very hard to dig.  I believe this was Shutz’s only record. (After reading, the back of the cover, Mr Shutz was born in 1914 in New Freedom, PA, got into radio in 1925, got into Hammond organs in 1936, and moved to San Francisco after getting discharged from the Navy)

The record itself has a good sound as well as pretty decent track selection.  Some good numbers and decent versions of songs that have appeared on here before including “Ghost Riders In The Sky” and ” I Could Have Danced All Night”.

For a sample, I went with “The Ecstasy Tango”.

Satisfactory Record

Eddie Layton- No Blues On This Cruise

It is your hump day in the middle of Continental Week.  I think I got this because of the Hi Fi organ advertised on the front.  The song selection was not bad either.

Eddie Layton was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1925.  Having learned organ at age 12, he got his hands on a Hammond during his stint with the Navy in WWII.  Upon his return, he composed scores for soap operas for CBS.  During this time, he released 27 or so records as well as toured countless music stores demonstrating his organ skills on the Hammond product.  According to Allmusic.com, he was on Hammond’ payroll for 50 years.

Layton’s Page on Spaceagepop.com

Layton’s crowning achievement perhaps was his work with the New York Yankees. Under pressure to compete with the Mets’ organist Jane Jarvis, Layton took the organist job with the Yankees in 1967, despite knowing nothing about baseball and never setting foot in a stadium prior.  He held the job until 2003 (with a small break between 1971-1977). Apparently, he popularized both “Charge” and ” The Mexican Hat Dance” at sporting events.  He also worked games for the Knicks, Rangers, and Islanders. Layton would pass of natural causes in 2004 at the age of either 77 or 79.

This was released in 1957 before his sports gig.  It is from Mercury Records.  Pretty decent album.  Nice arrangements and songs that I know.  I always get a kick out of good organ albums.  I think because I always wanted to play the organ as a kid.  Layton’s work is well regarded among space age pop fans and this album doe snot disappoint.

For a sample, I was  stuck between “Song of India”, “Under Paris Skies”, and “El Relicario”.  All fine songs but after some thought, I went with “El Relicario”.

Satisfactory Record.

Lenny Dee- Gentle On My Mind

dscn5520With a discount, this came out to twenty cents.  Must have got this at the Pearland Half Price Books.  For that price, I am willing to roll the dice on Mr Dee. This album was formerly owned by one Mrs. Earl H. Dorsett of Tampa, Florida, who may have died in 1992.  Earl, I also believe preceded her in death in 1973.



Earlier post on Lenny Dee (and I mean way earlier)

Another Bio page for Lenny Dee

This is one of Dee’s many records that he released for Decca.  Released in 1968, it features some of the more popular tunes of the time (“Love Is Blue”, “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”, and the title track), all complimented by Dee’s space age organ sound.  dscn5521

For a sample, I went with “What Now My Love”.

For the price I paid, I can not complain.  Satisfactory.

Al Melgard- At The Chicago Stadium

DSCN5116 (1024x1012)This was a bit mid range at $3.00 but being a hockey fan, I thought I should check it out.  Also maybe to try and get some of the Chicago people I know on the blog bandwagon.  Organ music at sports events is kind of a lost art form.  I remember it enough at sporting events when I was a kid but it was just starting to compete with pre-taped songs.  It was the beginning of the end of an era which to my knowledge is pretty much dead now.  I mean, I think some stadiums still have organs but they are used sparingly as a mere gesture to days gone by.a11

Chicago Stadium, built in 1929 and demolished in 1994, was the home of the Blackhawks for all years of its existence (It also housed the Bulls since 1967). I should point out here what little fruit was reaped during those years as the Edmonton Oilers won more cups in less than 10 years than the Hawks during their complete tenure in Chicago Stadium.  However, I am  sure I will get reminded about the Hawk’s recent history as well as how well the Oilers are doing now.

More history on the stadium


Very much an old school stadium, it the last arena to use an analog score clock.  It was also known as one of the loudest arenas in hockey due to its shape. This was also due to what was the world’s largest theatre pipe organ according to both Wikipedia and the album cover.  Chicago.ChicagoStadi.1929BartonOrga.0420.121210

Built by Barton, it consisted of 40,000 pipes, 883 stops, and six manual keyboards (according to the back cover as Wikipedia and most other sources say 3,663 pipes). There is a popular story about how during a riot after a boxing match, the organ player opened most of the stops, cranked up the volume, and blasted the middle keys.  The result was a fury of sound that blew out most of the lights, thus causing people to leave and quelling the riot.

A Link to more information on the organ

Page from the Pipe Organ Database



The man behind the keys that night was the subject of this album, Al Melgard, the Melancholy Dane.  Born in Denmark, he came to Chicago with his family when he was six months old. In 1930, he became the third and most well known organist in the history of the stadium, despite losing his left index finger.  With a list in his head of over 1,000 songs, he was one of the first to match songs with on ice occurrences.  For example, when King Clancy was refereeing, Melgard would play “Clancy Lowered the Boom” when he made calls.  He also played “Three Blind Mice” whenever the officials would take to the ice, a move that greatly angered Clarence Campbell. (inevitably, Campbell put the brakes on this). A very popular figure, he retired in 1974 and died in a nursing home in Las Vegas in 1977 at age 88.1734

As far as the organ, upon closure, it was bought and put in a club for a while until the owner moved it to Arizona.  A warehouse fire destroyed some of the owners other Barton’s, but it would appear the stadium console survived.  According to undated sources, it is currently in the Las Vegas home of property magnate, Phillip Maloof.

Link to the Organ restoration

This album, released in 1958,  is a collection of simple tunes played on the great organ by Melgard.  Apparently the sound of wind thru the pipes made recording difficult.  Anyway, other than the US service songs and “I’ve Been Working On The Railroad”, the rest of the melodies are from a bygone era.  But despite not knowing the songs, this is a decent piece of history and an interesting collection of sound.  It would probably sound better live but those days have past. I believe this and three more records Melgard put out sold well.   DSCN5117 (1009x1024)

For a sample, I was really torn. I really liked “Asleep in the Deep” with its aquatic tones.  I also thought “Butcher Boy” was a more traditional stadium piece and had a gone range of tones.  Then I was torn between the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and the “Marine Hymn”.  Posting anything over four songs is sloth to me but I am sure this is out of print, so for historical reasons, here is all four songs.


Satisfactory enough record.

Iron Butterfly-Heavy

DSCN4639 (795x800)This was $3 at a record convention.  The album itself is pretty worn. Very scratchy but you can tell this by listening to the sample.iron-butterfly

Iron Butterfly formed in San Diego in 1966.  The band went thru a few lineup changes before and after this album, finding their classic lineup until 1971.  Reunions would follow in later years with various lineups starting in 1974  up into present time.  The bands sound was driven mostly by founding member Doug Ingle (organ and vocals).  Ingle’s father had been a church organist and his influence is pretty heavy on what was their biggest single, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” seen here in the classic Simpsons’ clip.


Official Website

This was the bands first album on Atco Records in 1968.  The personnel were Ingles, Danny Weis on guitar, Darryl De Loach on lead vocals, Jerry Penrod on bass, and Ron Bushy on drums.  Penrod, DeLoach, and Weis would leave shortly after the recording paving the way for Erik Braunn and Lee Dorman to form the classic lineup.  Also according to Wikipedia, most of the vocals on the album were handled by Ingle.  The album was a moderate commercial success for the band.4388396311_206f95c3f7

The album itself is pretty good and a precursor both the future work but Iron Butterfly as well as the hard rock sound.DSCN4641

For a sample, I went with “Unconscious Power” although the instrumental “Iron Butterfly Theme” was a close second.

I am not sure if this version off Playboy After Dark is better or not. The people dancing 1968 style are a bit disturbing to me despite being pretty tame compared to today’s standard. Can’t believe any girl in this video went home with the guy they danced with and vice versa.


Satisfactory Record.

Don Jenkins- In Case You Hadn’t Heard…

DSCN4280This was $1.99.  I was shopping with my friend Tracy when we came across this album.  We made a dumb joke about the title.  I though that this was enough to buy the record.

Not Jenkins nor the 1790
Not Jenkins nor the 1790

In case you hadn’t heard, Don Jenkins plays the organ, the Kimball 1790 to be exact.  This album comes off as more as a promotion for Kimball.  After some time searching (but not too much), I came up with nothing on Don Jenkins and other than some schematics, nothing on the Kimball 1790.  The music is cheasy organ covers of popular songs, covering the range of sounds emitted by the 1790. The record itself was produced by Hal Leonard Publishing, so there must be a music instruction tie in somewhere.DSCN4282

It really came down to either “Mah-Na, Mah-Na” from the Muppets or “Tijuana Taxi”, made famous by Herb Alpert.  In the end, despite loving the Muppets, I went with “Tijuana Taxi”.COL2_099_grande

Meh for this album.  It gets old quick.



VA- Parade Christmas Sampler

DSCN3526This was $2.

I was really excited about this album because it was a sampler but that excitement wore quick.  I do not know who is singing what on the album.  There is not really much variety here.  There are some choir tunes, strings, instrumentals, and a Bing Crosby-type singer.DSCN3527

For a sample, I went with “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. Since it is a organ driven instrumental, I am assuming this is by Milton Page.


VA- Sunday Morning at South Main


This was $1.00 and just down the street from my place.  02, represent.


South Main Baptist Church was founded in 1903 as the Tuam Baptist Church (please note that Tuam is Irish! I get into fights constantly about this).In 1930, the church was moved to its current location at Main and was renamed accordingly.  The church had a significant growth in the 70’s during which point, it was named Church of the Year by Guidepost magazine.  The 80’s were less groovy but equally important to the community.  At a time when people, businesses, and other churches were fleeing downtown, South Main Baptist increased their commitment to the area. As a result, South Main has become the diverse church it is today.

Church Web Page

I tried to get some information about the pipe organ.  According to the website, the organ was installed in 1934 by the Kilgen Organ Company.  Additons were made by John T. Ford in 1987.  However, in 2009, the church decided to replace all components of the organ and enlarge the existing chambers.  A task force was formed in 2014 and after some deliberation, the church decided to go with Nichols and Simpson Organ Builders of Little Rock, Arkansas.  I am assuming the new organ is installed by now.  Below is a link to its specifications:

Organ Specs


This album has a varied selection of various church music from organ music, to choir ensembles, to solo singing, to brass pieces, to guitar.  It was conducted by Thad Roberts, JR, who was the Minister of Music at the time.  I was torn between an organ piece and a choir piece so I split the difference.  For a sample, I went with “Tone Poem on a Spiritual” which is a straight organ piece.  I also submit “And all the Earth Shall Own Him Lord”  which is a choir piece heavily driven by organ.SouthMainBaptist3-L

As far as church recordings go, this one is satisfactory.  Plus, you knows I got to give props to the 02 although I am not sure how this is still in the 02.  I thought it would be 77004 by now. Well, bravo to you, South Main Baptist for keeping it in the 02.


Lenny Dee- Most Requested

IMG_4926I paid $3.00 for this one. Seemed reasonable at the time. Quite standard songs and they guy on the cover looked pretty square. Like he played the Organ at the music store in the Paramus Mall.

Lenny Dee did about 50 albums or so and did a lot of live performances. A master at the organ, he sounds like he could play keys for Esquivel and has been called a pioneer of space-pop. Apparently, he had a dog that barked to the music. He died in 1996. Here is a descent bio:


I am guessing this came out in the mid-sixties, judging by the haircut and the inclusion of the Pink Panther Theme. (Really, how hard is it to put a date on the record album?) The album is not bad. Interesting space pop and organ. He gets some good tones out on this record. As far as technical skill, there is nothing that greatly illustrates any on this album. I mean, its good, but nothing that is knocking it out of the park. At times, he sounds like he should be working a sports event. That is not necessarily a bad thing. The song selection is what pushes the album as they are popular instrumental standards.

IMG_4927After going back and forth on a few songs, I chose “Café Oriental”. It is a catchy tune with a descent drum beat. The Mancini songs and “Java” are also okay as well.

Meh. I could really take or leave this album.   I think I want to like it more than I actually do and would lean more towards playing an Esquivel record given the chance. However, I think I might buy another Lenny Dee album if it was in the dollar range.