Professional Recording of the Spokane Looff Carousel
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Andreas Ruth und Sohn Style 38 band organ Imported from Walwdkirch, Germany., Originally used a...
|published||March 25, 2009|
|description||For the token price of a nickel streetcar fare, visitors to Natatorium Park (Spokane, Washington) in 1,909 were always greeted by the oom-pah-pah sounds of the carrousels Looff Ruth, the Adolphe Ruth and Sohn Band Organ. The Romance of the Carrousel was an original and integral part of the exquisite hand-carved carrousel by Charles I.D. Looff that was presented to his daughter, Emma Vogel as a wedding gift. Emma, her husband Louis and later their son Lloyd continued the operation of the carrousel and Natatorium Park until the 1,960s.
Manufactured in Waldkirch, Germany, the organ has over 300 pipes and instrumentation equal to a 60-piece band. Originally designed to play thick, folded cardboard sheets or book music it was converted to ply the more popular paper rolls by the B.A.B. Organ Company of Brooklyn, N.Y. in the 1,940s.
For many years, the Model #36 organ played the latest in marches, polkas, and ragtime tunes. The collection of songs, be they patriotic, romantic, or rythmatic, were always the latest tunes on the charts resulting in a musical history of Spokane as well as the United States.
Visitors could enjoy the sounds as they rode astride the richly hand-carved Looff horses, tiger and giraffe. Many simply cuddled on the two dragon chairs or lined the perimeter of the ride on the ample supply of park benches. Looff sometimes circled his carrousels with rocking chairs for just the same purpose. Natatorium Park was the mecca of pleasant summer days, of baseball games, swimming in the The Plunge, or a picnic on the grassy shores of the Spokane River amidst the tall, regal pines. There was the thrill of the Jack-Rabbit, Shoot-the-Chutes, or the Dodge-Em cars! Built as the Coney Island of the West is was always successful. It literally boomed in the 40s when all the serviceman stationed in the area chose it as their favorite spot for weekend liberties. They danced to the big band sounds of Harry James, Kay Kayser, Benny Goodman, and Tommy Dorsey. Many took the merry whirl of the carrousel in hope of catching the brass ring as a good-luck charm to be carried along on their travels to distant places.
By the end of the fifties, times and entertainments had changed. The age of the hi-fi, drive-ins, cruising down Main, and television were beginning to take their toll on the amusement industry. Nat Park, which had survived the Great Depression and World War II finally succumbed. First sold in 1,964 and then finally closed in 1,968, the sight was turned into a mobile-home park. It was only through the foresight and vision of Bill Oliver and Bill Fearn that the lovely Looff carrousel was saved from the auction block. Oliver, an electrician by trade, had picked up rings outside the carrousel to earn free rides as a youngster. He later worked at Natatorium Park, becoming the manager in the 1,960s. He convinced the owners to not place the carrousel up for sale, but instead to place it in storage until funds could be raised by the community to restore and save the machine for future generations. Bill Fearn, the Director of the Spokane Parks Department then convinced Spokane to purchase the machine and a grass-roots fund raising was begun. Its new home, Riverfront Park, is located in the heart of downtown Spokane on the sight of Expo 74. On May 8, 1,975 the horses began to twirl, the band organ again began to play, and the Romance of the Carrousel again welcomed park visitors to the banks of the Spokane River.
The band organ has been inoperable since 1,984, but fortunately in 1,978 the complete selection of music available for the 87 key Ruth was recorded under studio conditions by Sound Recording Company, Spokane, Washington. Under the direction of Irene Carter, Bobb Zatt and Paul Quam over 5 ½ hours were produced and are the masters for the cassettes which are currently used in the carrousel. They are also the masters for this C.D. All proceeds from the Romance of the Carrousel will aid in the restoration of the magnificent and rare Looff Ruth.
TRACK LISTING 1. Beer Barrel Polka 2. Isle of Capri 3. Alexznder's Rag Time Band 4. Nazzi Prinicpasche 5. Under The Double Eagle 6. Too Fat Polka 7. Estundiantina Waltz 8. Heartaces 9. Sweet Rosi O'Grady 10. Jeanine, I Dream Of Lilac Time 11. The Clarinet Polka 12. It Might As Well Be Spring 13. El Rancho Grande 14. I LOVE YOU, FOR SENTIMENTAL REASONS (Currently Playing) 15. Have Another Cup Of Coffee 16. The Beautiful Blue Danube Waltz 17. William Tell Overture 18. Rum And Coca Cola 19. Zippidy Do Da20. The Old Lamp Lighter
|title||Romance of the Carrousel - I Love You, For Sentimental Reasons|