"KEN GRIFFIN DEDICATION SHOW"
At The Beautiful Sound (Allen Organ Dealer)
Countryside, Chicago, Illinois.
On Sunday 29th of October 2006
Eric Larson & Frank Pugno
Eric and Frank At the Hammond RT3
The Hammond RT3 kindly loaned by Beautiful Sound
Bill Reid's Report
In the 50th year of Ken's passing the 5th Dedication Show got off to a great start with Frank Pugno playing Ken's arrangement of Someday (C-F-C-F).
This was followed with Jealous (F) Frank explained that Ken Griffin had standardised the conventional sound of the electronic entertainment organ.
Swell A# 80 8888 808 (Start and interlude with #3)
2 Swell B# 88 8800 000
3 Swell A# 80 8808 008
Great: 00 8865 544
Frank stuck to Ken's 'strolling' pace that made this a great arrangement.
Next came The Cuckoo Waltz. This was Ken's second gold record, right on the heels of You Can't Be True, Dear.
You Belong To Me. This was mainly Frank's own arrangement, demonstrating Ken's country descant harmony. If you didn't understand what Frank meant by 'descant harmony' then when Frank played the second part you immediately heard the Ken Griffin 'descant harmony' of this recording.
Red Wing (G). This is an early recording by Ken and Frank caught the pace and sound of this great catchy tune.
The Ferry Boat Serenade. (With Ken's 'Cheat-Cheat'). This was another fine performance by Frank that made it sound as if you were listening to ken's original recording.
Frank next played two of Ken's compositions. Starting with Hawaiian Echos (F-C)
Swell A#: 80 8888 888
This was a fine interpretation of Ken's record, of a very pleasant tune.
This was followed by Ken's Oh Ma Kodi Polka, which a catchy little foot tapping number. The title is a strange one but is thought to be from a native American expression.
Frank followed this up with a completely new tune to me 'Forget Me Not'. This is a very sweet tune and while we know that Ken had never recorded this number, Frank's arrangement was so close that it leaves you feeling sure that Ken would not have played it much different from this performance.
Next came Ken's great bouncy number The Bumpity Bump, composed by 'Doc Swain' and once again Frank stuck strictly to Ken's Columbia record arrangement.
Ken's arrangement of Barcarolle must surely upset a few traditionalists at the time, but what a fantastic arrangement, which I believe in no way insulted the classical origins of this well-known tune. For this number Frank was joined by Eric, who played the counter melody on a small Allen organ, which was tuned to balance with the Hammond sound. Ken had pioneered this 'electronic bell' sound, which became so well known. This was another great interpretation of the original Columbia recording.
Eric stayed at the Allen for another great overdubbed arrangement by Ken, It Had To Be You. Frank and Eric didn't disappoint.
Frank next played All Of Me in his own playing style. (Percussion Solo)
1 Swell A# 80 8888 888
2 Swell B 00 0000 000 (Percussion On, Slow, Second
Great A# 00 8865 544
Roses From The South (Strauss Waltz)
Swell B 80 8808 008 Percussion On, Normal, Slow, Second
(Use Percussion Off/On to add and delete the 1' drawbar)
This arrangement was somewhat suggestive of Ken's "Flirtation Waltz"
Frank concluded with a rather emotional arrangement of 'Plantation Boogie'. Everyone looks forward to hearing this very physical arrangement and it is great fun to watch both Frank's hands and feet move over the keyboards and bass peddles. Frank didn't disappoint but was visually affected by the loss of Lenny Dee a few months back and also the death of his father just 2-3 weeks back. Frank's father Bernard, attended all the previous Dedication Shows and would sit just behind and listen to Frank's performance with pride. Frank gave a fantastic performance, which was a great dedication to Lenny Dee and Frank's father.
Frank knew Lenny Dee and had not only played the organ for him but also joined in on jam sessions with him and they had become very good friends.
For a time it wasn't known if Frank would have been up to attending this year's show but he can be proud of the great performance, which he gave in spite of the circumstances.
The resounding applause Frank received said it all.
There was a 20 minute interval where some light refreshments were available.
Glow Worm (Slow, Vib 95%)
Side By Side This was a very close arrangement to Ken's, which was played on a Conn organ, which shouldn't be
impossible on a Hammond, but in Eric's capable hands was as close as it gets.
Who's Sorry Now We know that Ken never recorded this song but Eric has managed to play an arrangement in which
Ken may well have done so.
Tea For Two Ken's arrangement was in here somewhere but Eric played this very much in his own style and produced a
very catchy arrangement in which he varied speed and key changes.
September In The Rain One of Ken's very slow and haunting arrangements, which he managed to do on the Wurlitzer
Electrostatic. It is incredible on hearing the watery sound this organ produced on Ken's 67
Melody Lane TV programme and on these recordings managed to make it sound like a totally
different machine. Again, Eric managed to get very close to this on the Hammond.
Bye, Bye Blues Another great arrangement by Eric of a tune which Ken never recorded but may well have done in this
What'll I Do While Eric is great at the fast numbers, he can also make the organ sing beautifully with a slow melody and
did a very nice arrangement of this great oldie.
Lover/Petite Waltz One tune that Ken never recorded and the latter of which he did. Much of Eric's own style mixed
with Ken's own arrangements.
You, You, You This was the one number where, if I closed my eyes I could imagine that it was Ken Griffin sitting at the
keyboard. Eric played this so perfect.
Narcissus/Sunrise Serenade Again, Ken played these arrangements on the Wurlitzer Electrostatic organ, that appears on
his TV show '67 Melody Lane. It is virtually impossible to get this sound from the Hammond
Organ but Eric managed to portray the 'ES' exceptionally well.
Symphony In 3/4 Time This was another of Ken's compositions and is a very pleasant tune indeed but again, it was
played on the Wurlitzer Electrostatic and the Hammond could only give a very weak imitation.
However, because of Eric's fine tuning, and playing exactly to Ken's style it was another great
I Don't Know Why This is the Ken Griffin Sound that we know and love and Eric played this spoit on.
Love Letters In The Sand Another Wurlitzer Electrostatic recording by Ken in which Eric manages to get the Hammond
quite close. This also required Frank to play the overdub and between them they managed a
very nice arrangement.
Kringle's Jingle A Ken composition, which he also recorded as Whistler's Jingle. This arrangement required the jingle of
bells, which was played as an overdub and this required Frank to accompany Eric, at the Allen, to add the
jingle. They earned the considerabel applause at the end of it.
Walking My Baby Back Home Eric started off exactly as Ken played this number. However, as Eric's own playing style is
more 'Jazzy' than Ken's 'Swing', Eric swung over to his Jazzy style, while the organ
remained at the 'Griffin Sound' settings. This performance was a great example of Eric's
dexterity as his fingers moved from keyboard to keyboard
My Kind Of Girl This arrangement was strictly 'Eric Larson' in his 'Jazzy' manner and as with the previous tune he made
this number really go, jumping from keyboard to keyboard, with key changes and a keyboard technique
that looks and sounds very striking. It made for an excellent conclusion to our great day of Hammond
My only disappointment is that there was no recording made this year, which was a real shame as both Frank and Eric gave fantastic performances, which should have been available to listen to again and again.
This meeting should have taken place at Beautiful Sounds new premises but due to some technical problems was unfinished and they had only partly moved from the Countryside venue. Next year the Dedication Show will take place at the new venue, which I am told is both more convenient and closer to the City and has a separate room designed for such events. Watch out for our advert to the October 2007 show and the new address.
Photos From The Show
Two views of the audience, caught between tunes
AFTER THE SHOW
After the show a number of us met at the Hotel close by and enjoyed a grand meal. It also gave us a chance to relax and talk
longer and catch up with old friends and get to know new ones. Along with a very fine meal and enjoyable chat it looked as if no-one really wanted to leave and it took a while before we started making a move and the chat continued into the foyer and out into the car park and eventually each went heir own way back home.
For Eric, David and myself the entertainment continued for a couple of hours or so when we returned to Andy's home and along with interesting chat, listened to CD's of both Eric, and Ken Griffin. David Sylvester only contacted us via the web site a week or so before the event. David, who Comes from Rhode Island, stayed at the same hotel as myself and we quickly enjoyed each other's company and the same restaurants and it was very nice to have his company over the weekend. David is a piano tuner and also plays the church organ.
Frank Pugno Laura & Cindy Potts
Eric Larson Robert Ridgeway
David Sylvester ------ ---------
Bryon Young Bob Potts
Andy Antonczyk Pat Antonczyk
I couldn't conclude this report without giving special thanks to Andy Antonczyk, who carries out all the organising, from booking the venue to arranging the use of instruments and any necessary equipment, and even the supply of refreshments. Without Andy's help these Dedication Shows would not be possible.
Andy at the RT3 during Saturday rehearsals
Our thanks to Andy's mother, Pat who welcomed the audience, sold tickets and saw to the refreshments.
Photos by Bill Reid.
Watch these pages for the 2007 Dedication Show. It 'will' only get better!
Footnote: It was great to see Robert Ridgeway up and running again. He had been crippled for some time and had to have two hip joints replaced. However, his insurance didn't cover the very expensive operations and through the kindness of his many friends and especially the organists who he is involved with at the Sanfilippo Estate, where he looks after the mighty Wurlitzer organ and all the restorations and repairs of the large collection of Fairground organs, Railway and musical instuments, they kindly recorded enough tracks to produce a two-cd set, at their own time and expense, to raise money for the operations, which took place in Thailand, because it proved faster and so much chaper than in the U.S. So much for those in the U.K. who would like to see the National Health Service privatised, this will be the end result for those who won't be able to pay for Private Health Insurance. If you are for it I hope you have as good and as many loyal friends as Robert has, should you ever require it. However, Robert's operations were very successful and he is now getting around comfortably and back working at Sanfilippo. It was amazing to see the weight of pain lifted from him. Having a guided tour of the estate by Robert is an experience you won't forget and I have now been there three times and always enjoy the amazing collection and Robert's company..The sale of CD's and some financial backing by his employer, Jasper Sanfilippo still didn't meet the full expense. You can help by purchasing the two-CD set, which has the greatest collection of World-Known organists ever to appear together on one set of recordings.
The nine organists playing are: Steve LaManna, Jack Darr, Chris Gorsuch, John Ferguson, Chris Elliot, Jim Zodak,
Jelani Eddington, Mark Herman and Lew Williams = At the Wonder Morton 4/26. Recorded at the Wheaton Fox Studio.
Email Robert Ridgeway at www.magneticlab.com for full info. The CD price is $30 (Appx. £17). Check for postage to the U.K. or Europe etc. This is a two-Cd set, containing a total of 28 tracks. You will not only have a very unique collection of organ music but the cost will be going to a very worthy cause. Two CD's and Twice as rewarding. Couldn't ask for more!
Further information at: www.wheatonfox.com
"Ken's music just goes on and on"