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Monday, October 16, 2017

Deep Purple - Harry Farmer

Moonlite Serenade
Deep Purple
Harry Farmer's Rhythm Ensemble
London Records LL 1501

Harry Farmer - Hammond Organ
Harry Engleman - Piano
Dave Goldberg - Guitar
Norman Parker - Marimba
Pete Troman - Drums

From Billboard - February 2, 1957: The Harry Farmer quintet consists of Farmer on Hammond Organ, backed with piano, guitar, marimba and drums. In an excellent high fidelity pressing, the group indulges in a series of listenable standards. The material is well played, with lots of highs and lows to tickle the speaker, and it's recorded in a way that brings thru the full depth of the sound. Seaside scene on the cover is a good displayable hunk of color photography.

From the back cover: Harry Farmer is the son of a Walsall music dealer and the environment encouraged him to take to music at an early age, giving his first broadcast when he was twelve years old. He won a scholarship (the adjudicator was Sir Adrian Boult) at the age of fourteen and planned to be a concert pianist. Before this happened however, he discovered the attractions of the organ and received a sound tuition on this instrument under the late T. W. North, borough organist of Walsall, as part of the scholarship award. To get more funds for further lessons he became a cinema organist at Ipswich under the name of Andreas. The lessons with Mr. North were the last; from there on, experience was to be the teacher. A lot of classical music was included in the Wurlitzer recitals and, on one occasion, the theatre was taken over by a rich influential client of the district so that Harry could give a private command performance to his guests.

He left Ipswich to join a private cinema firm in East London where he was known as Henry Farmer ("Good ol' 'Enry" was the usual greeting from the barrow-boys down Angel Lane). He left this job to join the Granada Theaters circuit and soon got promotion with the group, broadcasting from the Granada Bedford, six months later. When Harold Ramsay left, Harry took over the broadcasts from the Granada, Tooting, as well, becoming the fist organist to have two regular recording venues.

He moved to a house in Sutton and on backstage of a cinema there he discovered the first Hammond organ to come into Britain from America. He practiced on it for more that twelve months before these instruments became known in Britain, and then featured it at Radiolympia in duets with Donald Thorne in 1937. Although the organs were apart the two organists were able to hear each other through the speakers.

Though continuing to work for the Granada circuit, he now formed a trio with pianist Jimmy Leach. This was called "Organola" and was originally intended for radio only. Nola was used as a signature tune. Tony Lowry, the musical supervisor of Granada Theatre, suggested this should be continued on the variety stage, and Harry agreed to try to experiment – it was a success.

During the war Harry joined the Royal Armoured Corps and reached the exalted rank of Corporal Driving Instructor. One day he was talking to the Regimental Barber and happened to mention his profession. The barber said he had an idea he could persuade the officers of the depot to invest in a organ (barbers have a great influence over their victims when they are in the chair). Although only a Trooper himself, his persuasion worked (by what method we shall never know) and a Hammond organ was bought. They became the first Army unit to have such a group which played for the depot dances in the gymnasium. The B.B.C. in Bristol heard of them, wired the gymnasium for sound and they made their first broadcast. These were followed by Overseas Broadcasts and visits to the Stage Door Canteen in company with some of the leading American bands. In 1945 he was transferred to the central pool of artists responsible for the Stars in Battledress shows, and toured Germany with a show he wrote called "Wit and Polish".

Harry Farmer left the Army in 1946 and in the summer played at the Blue Lagoon Ballroon in Newquay. One of the tunes that was featured there with some success was Slipped Disc. There were lighting dashed back to the studios for broadcasts in Variety Bandbox, the Hammond organ being carried in a trailer at the back of the car. Broadcasts in They're Out, Bright and Early, Morning Rhythm, Music While You Work, Workers' Playtime, became regular engagements.

Harry still gets around the country doing one-night stands and acting as entertainment host on a Cornwall hotel every summer at St. Austell. This issue is his most important recording session to date and one which will be wanted by all people who like to hear a Hammond organ excellently played and recorded.

A Kiss In The Dark
I'll See You In My Dreams
Because I Love You
Moonlight Serenade
I've Got You Under My Skin
Deep Purple
Cheek To Cheek
I'm In The Mood For Love
Goodnight, Sweetheart
I Only Have Eyes For You
Spread A little Happiness.

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