(12 Pump Organ MP3s beneath the jump)
The Old Pump Organ (LP)
Played by Naomi Barfield
Forum Records 7GS 2510 (no date, ca. 1950s)
The old pump organ, as its codgery modifier implies, wheezes and snorts like a village elder, sauntering unsteadily as if fueled by demon whiskey. There's something quaintly sinister about this creaky musical relic: the spooky undercurrents, the musty parlor aura, the summoning of poltergeists. It's out of date and out of joint, emitting a charming silliness that betrays not a hint of self-consciousness, nor a note of embarrassment.
It casts a spell. Who wouldn't want one of these eerie anachronisms in their living room? And Naomi Barfield on call to play it.
The pump organ is a variant of the reed organ. The sound is created by air pressure generated by the player pumping pedals. Must be a weird sensation -- like fingering a keyboard while riding a bicycle.
This vinyl curio found its way into my collection years ago, got some airplay, then was filed and forgotten. Don't know anything about the performer or the LP that isn't contained in the liner notes, which include a rustic, evocative paean by Naomi to her instrument.
The record wasn't pressed off-center -- the organ sounds that way naturally. It grinds out waterlogged rhythms, and warped melodies. It seems to croak "Hey, Bunky!" each time it exhales. It's a creature of many moods, ranging from mournful to festive. Naomi even makes the damned thing rock.
Forum Records (no relation to 4M) was a budget imprint whose albums hinted of hastily packaged afterthoughts that attempted to cash in on music biz trends (and perhaps modestly succeeded). That said, at the time of this mid-1950s release, there hadn't been a pump organ vogue since parents were naming their daughters Gertrude and taking them for rides on those newfangled carousels. Fan John Overall noted, "They were almost always very ornate, made out of expensive woods like walnut and cherry, and a surprising number of homes had them in America."
Someone in the Forum front office must have been enchanted with Miss Barfield and her antiquated talent. It is history's gain -- and yours -- that these sounds were documented. The cover illustration is credited to Anne Koedt.
Transferred from vinyl and moderately de-clicked in Adobe Audition, with no EQ or processing.
[LP back cover liner notes by Ralph Raper]
Even though the old fashioned pump organ has nearly disappeared from the home, we have had thousands of requests to record a long playing album since we released a single some months ago.
Naomi Barfield was selected to record this album because she is one of the few artists who still has the old art of playing the old fashioned organ. Naomi is a talented as well as a very sweet
person having played the old organ since she was so small someone had to do the pedaling for her.
Naomi has written forty or fifty instrumentals as well as many fine sacred hymns. Her many fans say she is the girl who plays the organ with a beat and that she will soon play her way to fame.
Most of this album was recorded in Naomi's own home in Seneca, South Carolina. We used almost anything we could get our hands on for some rhythm to cover up the banging of the pump pedals. Some of the items used were, dust brush, wisk broom, pans, brooms, heater tops, shoe box and other items too numerous to detail.
Naomi's many fans include people who like music with a beat, sweet and true. Some people say this music creates a spell upon them. Anyway, form your own opinion. Should it create too much of a spell we'll be glad to produce another album just for you that will break the spell.
The "OLD ORGAN" poem printed hereon is the work of Naomi Barfield and expresses her feelings about the old organ. With God's help and a lot of hard work, I'm sure Naomi will be around for years to come, entertaining you on the OLD PUMP ORGAN.
We have enjoyed recording this album. We hope it will afford you a world of the best listening pleasure.
------ ------ ------ ------
01. Side Glance of You
02. Longing For You
03. Surrender to Me
04. Organ Grinder
05. Wake Up Organ
06. Crying Organ
07. Rough and Ready
08. Singing On My Merry Way
09. I'm Just a Nobody
10. Egyptian Love Song
12. Rose of Palestine
------ ------ ------ ------
The Old Pump Organ
By Naomi Barfield
'Way out in the country, stands
An old broken down shack;
With feeble arms it beckoned me,
As I wandered back.
Where childish fingers played the chords,
With deep and rapturous joy;
Because I loved the Organ more,
Than all my homemade toys.
And when the cold dark winter rains,
Would beat upon the house;
Mom would cover up the keys, to keep the dampness out.
And as the winters came and went,
Like the melting snow;
In came our guest, the old Dirtdobber,
With his muddy load.
He'd look all around for a peaceful place,
For the soles of his feet to rest;
Then inside the Organ he would fly,
To build his little nest.
Poor ol' Ma and Pa, I nearly drove them wild,
Somehow I had a feeling,
They just didn't like my style,
Ma rolled her eyes at Pa and said,
She's got a funny beat;
Which are you talkin' 'bout sez he,
The Organ, or her feet?
The Little white Church in the valley,
Was a wonderful meeting place;
When upon the Organ I would play,
That old song "Amazing Grace"
And when the Parson finished,
I'd strike the mourners chord,
And Sinners walked the isles with joy,
Coming to the Lord.
But times have changed
Since I was just a little bitty girl,
And old Organ I don't even know,
If we will find a place in the Music World;
But we've come a long, long way together since,
I was just a young Maiden,
And you was grand spanking new;
But regardless whatever the outcome may be,
I'm gonna stick to you,
'Cause you have always stuck to me,
Sure, I won't desert you now that we're nearing the end,
'Cause you've stuck to me closer
Closer than the dearest of friends.