Saturday, February 16, 2013


YEAR:  1959
LABEL:  HiFi Records
TRACK LISTING:  Granada,  Far Away Places,  Istanbul,  I Love Paris,  A Foggy Day,  April In Paris,  Funiculi Funicula,  Londonderry Air,  By the River Sainte Marie,  Sabre Dance,  Eastern Romance,  Veradero,  Under Paris Skies,  German Medley
IMPRESSIONS:  One of the most prominent pipe organ technicians and the most-recorded pop organist of all time, George Wright was also notoriously hard to get along with.  A perfectionist, he would routinely find fault with organs, take them apart in order to correct it and then, after a perceived slight or altercation with the owner would not put the organ back together again.  Quite renowned for his rather bombastic style of playing -- Amok Books' Brian King, quoted in RE/SEARCH INCREDIBLY STRANGE MUSIC VOL. 1, states:  "There's one album where he visits Japan (TICKET TO TOKYO) and it'll be real quiet and then he'll go overboard -- you have to turn the stereo down all the time.  He'll take a song meant for acoustic guitar and transcribe it for organ -- that's always a laff riot."  Wright does, in fact, have a soft touch when he wants to (i.e. "By the River Sainte Marie") but then usually can't seem to resist pulling out all the stops for a wow finish.  Here, on "HAVE ORGAN WILL TRAVEL" the emphasis is obviously on songs evoking different countries.  The album cover is definitely a classic and the music on the album itself is one of Wright's most enjoyable collections.  One of his feats is that he takes "I Love Paris" -- a song I've never liked -- and made it enjoyable for me!  That's quite an accomplishment; the only other person who did that was Leona Anderson on her "MUSIC TO SUFFER BY" album.  George Wright hauls his organ around Spain, England, France, Istanbul and any other vague country of origin for his song selections.  "HAVE ORGAN WILL TRAVEL" was released in the same year as another "travel" from George Wright's fingertips:  the equally enjoyable "TICKET TO TOKYO" mentioned earlier.  Kitschy, bombastic and enjoyable.
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS:  Granada,  Istanbul,  I Love Paris,  April In Paris,  Funiculi Funicula,  Eastern Romance,  Under Paris Skies,  German Medley
FACT SHEET:  HAVE ORGAN WILL TRAVEL is George Wright's 18th album (probably).  Wright spent four years as featured organist at San Francisco's Fox Theater then became organist and musical director at New York City's Paramount in Times Square.  In 1950, Wright moved to Los Angeles and became the musical director for TV soap opera GENERAL HOSPITAL which featured his music and theme song until 1976.  Wright released over 60 albums during his career.  In 1968, however, the warehouse where he stored his pipe organ burned down and he did not record again for 10 years.  In 1995, Wright was awarded the first Life Achievement Award by the American Theatre Organ Society.  George Wright died in 1998. 

No comments:

Post a Comment