Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Vinyl Find: The World of Reginald Dixon (Decca SPA 38)

On a recent stay in New Quay, West Wales, I couldn't help but notice when my family went to buy ice creams at a local ice cream parlour the electric tones of Beside The Seaside blaring out of a juke-box. 

The tune on strict rotation with other familiar summertime melodies undoubtedly added a little background soundtrack to the onslaught of potential ice cream buyers making their way over from the beach in the midst of a hot afternoon.

Beside The Seaside's tones were popularised by Sheffield born theatre organist Reginald Dixon MBE, ARCM during the 1930s. Dixon is remembered primarily for his role as resident organist at Blackpool Tower ballroom between 1930 and 1970 and becoming one of the best-selling organists of all time on gramophone records.

His popularity endured from the 78RPM era well into the long-playing boom of the 1960s and 70s. While EMI were keen to have Reg recording new tunes, Decca records were equally as keen to plummet their 78RPM archives to bring together a collection for their World of series in 1969.

I find something very creative in Dixon's organ playing when I listen to it, he's not afraid of allowing the instrument to paint a variety of scenarios with sound be it an Edwardian summers day or indeed a wild storm at sea.

I found this stereo version of The World of Reginald Dixon (SPA 38) a few weeks ago in a Newport charity shop for 20p.

The album boasts almost 30 tunes (albeit many in medley form) but almost an irresistible buy for the discerning Dixon connoisseur back in 1969!

This LP also comes with its original 19'11 price tag, (that's 19 shillings and eleven pence, 95p in today's money) and a 1969 photo cover of Reg at his beloved organ!

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