THE
KEN GRIFFIN DEDICATION SHOW

Bill Reid's Report - Updated February 2005

At The Beautiful Sound (Allen Organ Dealer)
 Countryside, Chicago, Illinois.
On Sunday 17th of October 2004

Featuring

Andy Antonczyk,
 Frank Pugno
 &
 Eric Larson

With
Lee Moloney of The Beautiful Sound

 
It was with considerable disappointment that I was unable to attend this year's Dedication Show due to family commitments. This report has been formed from notes sent to me by Frank, Eric, Andy and Sally, who confirm that everyone had a very nice time, with lots of Ken Griffin tunes played throughout the afternoon..

Lee Moloney started the show on the Allen GW-IV for about 20 minutes.  Then I played 45 minutes, followed by intermission.  Eric then played about 45 minutes.  The Hammond was a BC, not a BV.  The tremulant sounded terrible and I (Frank) was the only one who used it and for only 2 songs.  I did my show on the Allen 311 and got it to closely resemble Ken's Hammond when I used only tibias (flute stops).  I finished with one song on the Allen GW-IV.  At the end, we did You Can't Be True, Dear and Tea For Two, three organists.

Lee Mohoney: Allan GW-IV)

No Business Like Show Business
Medley (Misty, Charade, Never On A Sunday and Fascination and concluding with The Beer Barrel Polka)   
Cheek To Cheek

Frank Pugno: Hammond BC:
Someday
The Cuckoo Waltz
Open Up Your Heart

Allen 311:
Open Up Your Heart
Valencia
Red Wing
O Ma Kodi Polka
One Dozen Roses
It Had To be You (no overdubbing effect)
In An Eighteenth Century Drawing Room

Allen GW-IV:
The Bumpity Bump 
(Ken was theatre organist (1928-1930/played best instruments of his time)

ERIC LARSON: (Hammond BC)
Little Sally One Shoe
(Allan GW-IV)
My Best To You
Dreaming Of My Sally
Glow Worm
The Nearness Of You
Louisianna Waltz
Side By Side
Twelfth Street rag
You Belong To Me
Take Five
Spanish Eyes (Not Complete)
Jeepers Creepers

Maloney (Protégé Console), Pugno (311) & Larson (GW-IV):

You Can’t Be True, Dear
Tea For Two


Eric Larson (GW-IV)
Sentimental Journey
Tennessee Waltz

Comment (10th February 2005)

Bill Reid

As explained I was unable to attend this years show. However I have since received a copy of the recording that was made by Martin Fisher of Nashville, Tennessee, which was made on a handheld digital recorder, using the inbuilt microphone.  Martin had got the recording cleaned up as much as possible and while the sound remained a bit on the 'hollow' side' it is an acceptable and very welcome recording of the days events and I very much appreciated being able to hear the programme as it was made.

I have since converted the tracks from the CD's to WAV files and ran them through a WAV Correction programme. The Equalizing and Graphic dynamics were tightened up and the volume level raised to optimum audio CD level and I have to admit the difference is quite remarkable, with a more solid sound. Being able to listen at 'average' volume level it becomes a very enjoyable listening experience. I also edited the 'silent' periods between tracks, which were on the long side at times, and the whole CD programme is more balanced.

This now allows me to make a personal comment on the show and the performance of the artists. Sadly, the Hammond BC failed only a short while into the performance and an Allan GW-IV and Allan 311 used for the remainder of the show. Now, as worthy instruments as these are, they will not give a true 'Griffin Sound' and while everyone did their best it wasn't really Ken's sound. However, having said that, Ken's playing style and arrangements were more than obvious and we 'fans' could easily sense Ken's involvement in the performances.

Lee, of course, doesn't play in Ken's style therefore his performance was all his own. I thought this a very tuneful selection, starting with a rousing opening of  There's No Business Like Show Business followed by a very pleasant medley that includes, Misty, Charade, Never On A Sunday and Fascination and concluding with The Beer Barrel Polka. 

Lee then concludes his performance with a very lively arrangement of Cheek To Cheek which concludes in a very worthy applause.

Frank began his performance on the Hammond with Someday, which got everyone one off to a foot tapping start. With The Cuckoo Waltz there was no mistaking that Griffin sound and the 'professional' organist at the keyboard. This was 'keyboard wise' spot on to Ken's arrangement.

On the Allan 311 Frank continued with Open Up Your Heart and Valencia, very Ken Griffin but I just loved Franks arrangement of Red Wing. This was followed by Ken's own composition, Oh Ma Kodi Polka (Anyone know the origin of this title or its meaning!) then Frank gave another excellent performance with One Dozen Roses, a great number, which I didn't know that Ken had recorded. According to Frank this is a little known recording and very difficult to find.

Another number in which Frank tries very hard to sound like Ken's version is It had To Be You but again is not quite correct as it has neither the right sound or have the over-dubbing that cries out 'Ken Griffin'. However, top marks for the fine effort in spite of the limitations.

Franks final number on the IV was an excellent attempt to play Ken's very fast In An Eighteenth Century Drawing Room and he deserves credit for the effort, which only the slower response of the IV stopped it being a perfect Ken Griffin play-a- like.

Frank concluded with a fine playing of The Bumpity Bump. I felt that this was the only number in which it didn't matter being on the IV as Frank had made very colourful settings that complimented the arrangement very nicely. The Bumpity Bump was composed by Doc Swaine whom Ken gives mention to on his TV Show.

It was very nice to find that Eric had played so many numbers this year. He has restricted himself in past shows and really should make these a showcase for his fine performances.

Eric returns to the IV with a very nice arrangement of Little Sally One Shoe. And again, while not exactly Ken Griffin he gives a very charming and melodic version of Ken's composition, My Best To You.

This is followed by a brand new composition by Eric, dedicated to Ken and Sally, called Dreaming Of My Sally. On the Hammond or Electrostatic this is 100% Ken Griffin and I am certain that Ken would have been very proud of this composition. Once again, the IV couldn't make it sound like Ken.

On hearing the tune for the first time I immediately felt that it should have lyrics and within the week I managed to compose a set of lyrics that Eric felt happy with, therefore this lovely little tune became a song. I know Eric has composed numerous tunes for the organ but this was a first for me and I am very pleased that not only has it worked but also that Sally enjoys my 'vocalised' version, to Eric's accompaniment.

Eric next played Glow Worm in a lively manner that sounds very Theatre Organ-ish, rather than electronic. This was followed with Ken's arrangement of The Nearness Of You. Again not quite Ken's sound, but Eric plays the this so sweetly that all is forgiven. The melodious tune on its own would have been a hit but with such charming lyrics this is a very atmospheric number. 
And again, in similar fashion, another of Ken's own compositions Louisiana Waltz. This is a fine tune that sounds good on whatever instrument it is played on.

This was followed with another Ken standard Side By Side in which Eric really makes the keyboard swing.

Next we come to my second most favourite of Eric's performance. Sometime before the show I came across a different arrangement of 12th Street Rag, from Ken's Columbia arrangement and sent Eric a copy. I was very pleased to find that he had memorised the arrangement and included in this performance. Again, it really required the Hammond to do it justice but for performance this is Eric at his best. He sizzles over the keys! I would love to hear Eric play this on the Blackpool Tower Organ, it would be a hit. The fact that Eric also has a Pipe Organ at home, which he plays equally well, it shows in this arrangement.

Interestingly, I have since come across a third arrangement of 12th Street Rag by Ken, completely different from the other two versions. I shall be introducing Eric to this arrangement very soon and I am sure he will also make a great job of adding this to his already massive repertoire of Ken's play-a-like arrangements.

Next there is a slight diversion when Eric's wife Elizabeth joins him to sing You Belong To Me. Elizabeth sang at our first show but the recording suffered from sound imbalance and her voice was slightly lost to the organ playing. However, this time we have a well-balanced line and Elizabeth gives a nice rendering of this old favourite.

This is followed by a very nice arrangement of Take Five, showing Eric's natural 'Jazz' playing style. He's good, ain't he!

I haven't worked out why Spanish Eyes was played so briefly! It just stops! However, Eric plays this very well and it’s a shame it isn't complete. Can we have the conclusion next time!

Update 10. 03. 05.
It appears that this number has been cut short while recording and/or during the editing. I shall see if we can get the missing sections restored.

For his final 'solo' number Eric introduces and improvises the organ voices before playing a very lively arrangement of Jeepers Creepers. Another foot tapper.

Update 10. 02. 05
I have since learned that for this performance of  Jeepers Creepers it is one that you would  have to see to appreciate exactly what Eric did. He played the bass with left foot on the pedals, the melody with right foot high up on pedals, and then both hands for the accompaniment. Apparently it was a typical "console gymnastics" piece and you would not have known of what was involved if you hadn't seen it for yourself.

You can't hold a Dedication Evening to Ken and not play a combined effort of You Can't Be True, Dear and with Lee on the Protégé Console, Frank at the 311 and Eric at the GW-IV they give an excellent performance.

Normally, it should be impossible to follow this rousing performance but our gallant trio followed this up with an equally successful Tea For Two.

Eric's penultimate number was on the BC and gave a very bouncy arrangement of Sentimental Journey. Not completely Ken Griffin, as the train sound was omitted, but very lively.

A rather subdued finale but once again Eric manages to round things up nicely with a tuneful arrangement of The Tennessee waltz.

===============================

I was really sorry not to have been there but I would like to conclude by thanking Martin Fisher for taking the trouble to record this event and to capture it for us. It has been really nice to be able to listen to the performance in the comfort of my own home.

My Thanks too, to Lee Moloney, Frank Pugno and Eric Larson, not to forget Sally White, who also played her part. But my greatest thanks go to Andy Antonczyk, who once again has taken the time and trouble to make all the arrangement that allow these shows to take place and to continue.

Watch these pages for the 2005 Dedication Show.

============================


"Ken's music just goes on and on"

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