When I was growing up, the most entertaining restaurants were pizza places (or that’s at least where the most entertainment opportunities were). One of my favorite pizza restaurants was Crystal’s Pizza & Spaghetti. Not only were the pizza and the breadsticks delicious, but they also had video games, pinball machines, skee ball machines (where you could win tickets redeemable for “valuable” prizes), and a movie room that showed old cartoons and Three Stooges shorts. But I never went to a pizza restaurant that featured a huge pipe organ, played on the premises by a pipe organist. Then again, I never went to Organ Grinder Pizza. The pipe organ was such a prominent feature in the restaurant that they released albums featuring some of the music played there. Today I bring you selections from Volume 2 of “At the Organ Grinder.”
The first song I have here is the classic “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” performed by Jonas Nordwall. While the song itself is great, the thing I like most here is the train sound effects performed on the organ. It adds a nice touch.
The thing that these guys had to keep in mind was that they had to attract young people as well, and songs like this probably wouldn’t do it. That explains the next songs I’m sharing here. Here’s “The Hustle,” made famous by Van McCoy and reinterpreted on the pipe organ by Nordwall.
You’ve got to have some slow tunes to balance things out but, unfortunately, the pipe organ isn’t really known for its romantic subtlety. Hence, this boisterous (but soulful) rendition of Englebert Humperdinck’s “After the Lovin’,” performed by Paul Quarino.
And finally, what pipe organ recital would be complete without the song “Y.M.C.A.” (performed again by Quarino). I don’t know. I give them points for style, but it sounds like a disco in a haunted house to me.
If you’d like to hear more from this blast from the past, you can find the entire album here.
Before you wander off, I’d like to ask you all a favor. A friend of mine named Brenden Baker has been nominated for a chance to win a trip to Morgan’s Wonderland, an amusement park in San Antonio for special needs kids. He’s a sweet seven-year-old boy that unfortunately suffers from a rare form of Dwarfism. Voting is easy, and it doesn’t cost a cent. Here’s all you have to do: go to this website (or click on Brenden’s picture over here) and click where it says “Vote Now” next to Brenden’s name. Voting deadline is Wednesday, October 20. If you don’t want to do it for me or because he’s a nice little boy that deserves it, do it because he’s got some wicked dance moves! Thanks for your consideration, and I’ll see you next time!