Sunday, July 14, 2013

Organ Grinding and Humper Dincking

Before we get on to the albums, I'd like to share the inspiration for this entry. I received an interesting email from a reader named Mike who shared his thoughts on the idea of the electric organ as a musical instrument:

At least someone hates the electric organ (both theater with "tabs," how retarded, and drawbar) as much as I do. You mentioned that somewhere on your site (I forgot where). I will not start on some of the "gospel" music that is on Classical Gas Emissions either.

I don't even consider any kind of organ to be a musical instrument because it makes nothing noise and sound effects. Anything that requires nothing but classical music training, extensive use of the feet, an attitude reminiscent of a bitchy person, expensive, black dress clothes, very complicated process (construction), and a Halloween state of not, and should not be a musical instrument. 
I knew a few goths that loved such gibberish like this, and not surprisingly, they are very mentally insane people. They are in awe with the "talent" and devotion required to play such irate, livid, and disgusting garbage. That's the number one reason why I don't go to church. I worship God in the comfort of my own home, in comfort, not in fear. I never understood why church has to involve such rubbish like that. Good old Eurotrash started it (i.e. Bach, Handel, and other composers that goths worship like idols).
I can't discern or hear actual, musical notes on any organ either. There's always "growling," "ringing, or other kinds of noises that obscure the "music" being played. No matter how loud or soft it's played at, it always sounds as delusion as a mental home resident, or as retarded as my some of my brother's friends.  

So, let's see how well these recordings compare to Mike's evaluation of the electric organ...

Don Thompson - The Organ Grinder Live!

Maclean & Maclean defined an "organ grinder" as a cocksucker with a chipped tooth. Given that, I'm assuming that Don Thompson isn't very fond of visits to the dentist.

The album as a whole is a very interesting find. First of all, it has no company markings with the exception of "Pipe Organ Presentations" on the label, which is probably something that the asshole making the record label came up with on the spot. I very much doubt that this is part of a series of organ recordings. However, it seems they made more than one, although it has a confusing catalog number: It's got OP-003 on the cover and OP-002 on the label. Typical when you hire alcoholics to work in your record plant.

Second, the album is autographed by Don Thompson himself to someone named Isobel.

Whenever I find albums that are autographed (and I've come across a lot of them) I automatically deem them as worthless pieces of shit. For big name artists, an autograph adds value to the album. For musical nobodies, it's just an ego boost.

Third, the album came with a menu:

Apparently, The Organ Grinder was a pizza place in Ontario which was shut down in 1996. Pizza selections consisted of stupid names such as "The Opening Number", "The Mighty Wurlitzer", and the "Piper's Delight". Don Thompson played there from 1976-1982 and cut this album somewhere in that time period.

Fourth, the album was very much recorded live with two microphones, probably one at each side of the organ. It has a nice "tape recorder sound", very much like the recordings my mom makes when she plays her organ.

So with this album being such a masterpiece, let's listen to a song off it. Wait... my mistake. When people play the organ, they never play entire songs. They play medleys. There's no point in playing one song on the organ because it usually sounds boring, so you have to play a shit load of songs in a small time frame to keep it interesting. This is a children's medley which consists of the theme from Sesame Street, the Rubber Duckie song, the Mickey Mouse song, It's a Small World, the Popeye song, and the theme from The Lone Ranger (I'm only guessing it's the theme because I never watched the show)

Listen to The Children's Medley

Hans Martens - Do You Like Humperdinck? Engelbert's 30 Biggest Hits at the Organ

Look at the cover. I'll bet these hotties like Humperdinck!

This is a fucking terrible recording. Remember what I said about organ players playing medleys? Well, we're seeing the trend continue on this record. You get three songs in each medley. Hans seems to have an obsession with the damned foot pedal volume control. His performance consists of very quiet spots where he's drowned out by the shitty rhythm section, and very loud spots where he's drowning out the rhythm section. I suppose organ players do this to give their music "feeling", but they just make their music sound like a screaming psych patient speeding up and down the hallway of a mental institution in their electric wheelchair.

The guy who produced the album (who wisely chose to remain anonymous) could have fixed Hans's performance if he compressed the hell out of the organ track. Instead, he decided to simply not give a shit about the end product and left Hans's retarded wavering volume control as is. The end result is the listener fucking around with his stereo hookup because it sounds like there's a bad connection causing the sound to go loud and quiet.

Listen to The Last Waltz / Les Bicyclettes De Belsize / There Goes My Everything

The Cosmopolitans

I had to throw this one in for fun. The Cosmopolitans were an elderly duo from Winnipeg- one on the drums and one on the organ & vocals. I used to have a video cassette with some of their performances, but it was lost throughout my many moves during my 20s. The only existing recording I have is this audio recording of a song which was originally penned by Paul McCartney.

I have this song on my Save The Jets Fundraiser, but I figured I'd bring it back here since it prominently features organ playing. If you want to see The Cosmopolitans perform, someone lovingly uploaded them to youtube.

Listen to A World Without Love

So, does Mike have a point? Quite possibly. Personally, I think the electric organ has one useful purpose: playing music at a funeral home. It has such a miserable, dreadful sound that you can't help but weep upon hearing it's depressing noise. What I would love to find is an album of classic rock songs played on the organ, but I somehow doubt it exists. It's just a really stupid idea.

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