50 medleys and hits from Reginald “Mr Blackpool” Dixon is best known as the resident organist at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, where he played the Wurlitzer organ from 1930 until his retirement in 1970, only interrupted by military service in the R.A.F. during WWII. A fine double CD collection of the Theatre Organ played by the maestro of the genre.
I Dreamed / Tra La La / Amore: Little White Lies / You're The Cream In My Coffee / When I Take My Sugar To Tea / When You're Smiling: Evermore / Stowaway / Ev'rywhere: She's Funny That Way / They Can't Take That Away From Me / I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter: Long, Long Ago / Unchained Melody / You'll Always Be The One: Garden Of Eden / Follow Me / Armen's Theme (Yesterday And You): Around The World / We Will Make Love / Four Walls: Mama / Every Day Of My Life / John And Julie: Just One More Time / Boom Boom Boomerang / Hey Mr Banjo: Wonderful Wonderful / White Sport Coat / Wringle Wrangle: The Skaters' Waltz: It's Almost Tomorrow / My September Love / A Tear Fell: Memories Of You / Don't Be That Way / On The Sunny Side Of The Street: A Shanty In Old Shanty Town / At Sundown / My Blue Heaven: Willie Can / The Poor People Of Paris / The Happy Whistler: It May Sound Silly / My World Stood Still / Stranger In Paradise: Bugle Call Rag / If You Knew Susie / Shine: Blaze Away: I'm In Favour Of Friendship / Dreamboat / The Crazy Otto Rag: Crystal Ball / Way Down Yonder In New Orleans / Ricochet: Beer Barrel Polka / Don't Dilly Dally On The Way / Bye Bye Blackbird: The Student Prince Selection (Part 1) - Deep In My Heart, Dear / Drinking Song / Golden Days / Entrance Of Officers: The Student Prince Selection (Part 2) - Serenade / Deep In My Heart, Dear / Just We Two / Students Marching Song: She's A Lassie From Lancashire / When Irish Eyes Are Smiling / Blaydon Races / Maybe It's Because I'm A Londoner: D'Ye Ken John Peel? / On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At / We'll Keep A Welcome / Loch Lomond:
Mr Sandman / S'posin / No More: Why / The Book / Rags To Riches: Lonely / If You Love Me / You, You, You: It's A Woman's World / Count Your Blessings Instead Of Sheep / The Finger Of Suspicion Points At You: Never Never Land / Third Little Turning / Sky Blue Shirt: Changing Partners / Answer Me / I Need: Oh Baby Mine, I Get So Lonely / Do, Do, Do, Do, Do, Do, Do It Again / I Ain't Gonna Do It No More: When Are We Gonna Get Married? / It's Great To Be Young / Oh, Happy Day: Cara Mia / The Story Of Tina / Dream, Dream, Dream: Pretty As A Rainbow / Oom Pah Pah (Bom Pam Pa) / (I Left My Heart In) Heidelberg: Glow Worm / Seven Hills Of Rome / Broken Wings : Bye, Bye, Baby / My Lucky Number / I'd Give Anything: Dancin' With Someone / The Golden Years / Please, Please: Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes / I Shall Return / She Wears Red Feathers: Haven't Got A Worry / If I Were A Bell / You Have My Sympathy : There's Always Room At Our House / Why Worry / Down Yonder: Mistakes / Charmaine / Dancing With Tears In My Eyes: Because You're Mine / Keep It A Secret / Jenny Kissed Me: Vaya Con Dios / True For Ever / Butterflies: Black And White Rag / Canadian Capers: April In Portugal / Wishing Ring / My-Na, Shay-Na, Ty-Ra: Nola / Polly / Kitten On The Keys: Turkey In The Straw / Chicken Reel: In A Golden Coach / Greensleeves / The Windsor Waltz: Ain't She Sweet? / I Can't Give You Anything But Love / On The Sunny Side Of The Street / I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside.
Reginald Dixon, M.B.E. Known as "Mr. Blackpool" to millions, Reginald Dixon was born in Sheffield in 1904 and showed a musical interest from a very young age. He had ambitions to become a concert pianist and began church organ playing at thirteen. Full-time musical studies enabled him to qualify as an A.R.C.M. when he was seventeen.
He then had lessons from a cinema pianist and began to play piano for silent films. This enabled him to earn a living and gave him access to his first Wurlitzer organ. After appointments as organist in several cinemas, it was from the New Victoria, Preston, that he moved to the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool, in 1930, playing a similar Wurlitzer, and where he had to adapt his technique to playing for dancing. This, as is now legendary, he did with enormous success. Broadcasting and recording soon followed and were to continue for nearly fifty years.
He persuaded the owners of the Tower to install a larger, more powerful Wurlitzer, in 1935. This is the organ heard on most of these tracks and which is still played today by his successors, despite suffering smoke damage when the ballroom was partially destroyed by fire in December 1956. At this time he recorded on the similar Wurlitzer at the Opera House, Blackpool, and some of these tracks are included here, together with a few done at E.M.I.'s Abbey Road Studios, which housed a Compton organ. Occasionally, he was joined by a small rhythm ensemble, and a few were multi-tracked.
These CDs include many of the last recordings of Reginald Dixon originally issued as 78rpm records, as when the ballroom and organ were restored and reopened, the long playing record had superseded the old format.
After five years service in the R.A.F. during the Second World War, Reginald returned to Blackpool, where he kept the sound of Wurlitzer organ music 'in the public ear' during a time when most cinema organs had fallen silent.
He was awarded the M.B.E. in 1966.
Eventually Reginald Dixon retired from the Tower Ballroom, giving a 'farewell concert' on 29th May, 1970.
He then began extensive touring, playing on cinema organs, both 'preserved' and some still 'in situ' in cinemas. These concerts were almost invariably sell-outs. He continued broadcasting from and recording at the B.B.C. studios in Manchester, where the original Tower organ had been installed after spending thirty years in the Empress Ballroom, Blackpool.
During his fifty or so years of recording, he was one of the top-selling artists, his prolific output ranking alongside that of Victor Silvester and Bing Crosby.
Reginald Dixon died on 9th May, 1985, at the age of 80.
We all miss him greatly. His quiet, modest manner endeared him to all he met - but his music happily lives on in his many recordings.
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