The Style H Solo Orchestrion is considered by most collectors to be the largest and most musically capable of all the American built orchestrions. Its most comparable competitor (as far as the American built machines) was the Coinola SO, a large keyboardless cabinet orchestrion manufactured by the Operator's Piano Company, was located in Chicago. But whether, or not, the style H is the biggest and best machine musically, its imposing stature and handsome and ornate charm is undisputed.
The beautifully restored Style H featured on these CD's is one of several style H's once located at the famous Cliff House of San Francisco, California. This particular one, Style H Solo Orchestrion #92,943, was manufactured by the J.P. SXXXXXX Piano Co., Chicago, Illinois, circa 1921. Its original owner remains a mystery, although it is very likely that it was first sold somewhere in the San Francisco area. It is also unknown when or where George and Leo Whitney (proprietors of the Cliff House / Adolph Sutro Collection, San Francisco) bought the instrument. But it is known that Hathaway and Bowers, Inc., Santa Fe Springs, California, bought the style H, along with two others, from the famous Cliff House collection in 1970. One of the three H's, this one, was quickly sold to Gordon Lipe, of Skaneateles, New York, who later moved to Teton Village, Wyoming, taking the prized "H" along with him. The "H" was restored for Mr. Lipe by Reblitz Restorations, Inc., Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1977. Gordon Lipe became ill and sold the "H" circa 1980, to Steve Gronowski of Chicago, Illinois. Currently, as of 1983, it is part of the stunning Sanfilippo Collection, which is also located in a Chicago suburb.
The instrumentation of the Style Style H Solo Orchestrion consists of a Piano, with mandolin attachment; 68 pipes (one rank of 34 wooden violin pipes and one rank of 34 wooden open flute pipes); a 22-note xylophone; and trapwork consisting of bass drum, tympani effect, snare drum, cymbal, triangle, and castanets. The two pipe ranks and the xylophone have solo capability, with an automatic register for the piano treble range.
The original analog 1/4 inch tape recordings used to create these CD's were recorded in 1977 by Art Reblitz, immediately after the restoration of the Style H was completed. Generally, H's, with their large electric motor mounted securely to the wooden support structure under the key-bed, were notorious for making lots of motor and other vibrational noise. Thus, especially if the instrument is kept true to its original state of manufacture, restoration does not remedy this noisy motor situation. To get rid of the motor induced noise a very precisely tuned noise reduction technology was used in the preparation of these CD's, which eliminated both the tape hiss and the loud motor associated noises, without interfering with the musical qualities of the original recording. This then provides the listener with the opportunity to enjoy Style H music without the usual mechanical noises that are normally present, revealing delicacies and subtle expressive accents in the music that might otherwise be missed. Moreover, this particular H, restored by Reblitz Restorations, was personally regulated by Art Reblitz, someone who professionally not only understands and arranges music, but has an intimate working knowledge of the mechanical aspects of the machine, too.
These musical selections are of popular fox trots, one-steps and waltzes dating from the 1920s. The descriptive headings used for some of the tune groups, such as "Greetings from Harmony Land," are taken from the actual music roll labels. SXXXXXX often gave lyrical sounding titles to various music rolls, making the listed tunes perhaps seem more attractive than they might otherwise have been. All considered, for anyone who enjoys the sound of American "nickelodeon" music, these CD's will undoubtedly be a treasured addition to their automatic music collection.
|Style H Solo Orchestrion|
|SEE-HSOL-V1 (Volume 1)|
|From roll H-897 (circa 1924) "A Group of Aces"||From roll H-769 (circa 1923) Recut roll by George Carr|
|1.||Dear One, Fox Trot||1.||Yes! We Have No Bananas, Fox Trot|
|2.||Choo-Choo, I Gotta Hurry Home, Fox Trot||2.||Whose Heart Are You Breaking Tonight?, Fox Trot|
|3.||Pleasure Mad, Fox Trot Blues||3.||Beale Street Mamma Blues|
|4.||Tennessee, Fox Trot||4.||I Never Miss the Sunshine, Fox Trot|
|5.||Tessie, (Stop Teasin' Me), One-Step||5.||The Natchez and the Robert E. Lee, Fox Trot|
|6.||My Twilight Rose||6.||Bobbsy, One-Step & Fox Trot|
|7.||Sweet Venetian Rose, Waltz||7.||Gee - I'll Miss You, Fox Trot|
|8.||Doo Wacka Doo, Fox Trot||From roll H-958 (circa 1925) "Irresistible Harmony Gems"|
|9.||Jefferson Davis, One-Step||8.||What a Life When No-one Loves You, Fox Trot|
|From roll H-904 (circa 1925) "Jazzland Classics"||9.||Tell Me Yes, Tell Me No, Fox Trot|
|10.||Southern Rose, Fox Trot||10.||Mammy, the Best Friend We Ever Had, Waltz|
|11.||A Sun-Kist Cottage, One-Step||11.||I'm Always Thinking of Someone, Fox Trot|
|12.||I'm Someone Who's No-one to You, Waltz||12.||Are You Sorry, Fox Trot|
|13.||La Rosita, Fox Trot||13.||Squeeze Me, Fox Trot|
|14.||Copenhagen, Fox Trot||14.||Honey I'm In Love With You, Fox Trot|
|15.||Nancy, Fox Trot||15.||Carolina Sweetheart, Waltz|
|16.||Faded Rose, Waltz||16.||On the Oregon Trail, Fox Trot|
|17.||Sweet Dreams, Fox Trot||17.||When Eyes of Blue are Fooling You, Fox Trot|
|18.||Honolulu, Fox Trot||From roll H-963 (circa 1925) "Sure Fire Hits"|
|From roll H-1028 (circa 1926) "Harmony Sensations"||18.||Say Arabella, What's a Fella To Do, One-Step|
|19.||Hi-Ho the Merrio, Fox Trot||19.||I'm Tired of Everything But You, Fox Trot|
|20.||Only You and Lonely Me, Fox Trot||20.||Why Should I Believe in You?, Waltz|
|21.||It's Too Late to Be Sorry Now, Waltz||21.||Ida - I Do, Fox Trot|
|22.||You Gotta Know How to Love, Fox Trot||22.||Madiera, Fox Trot|
|23.||Drifting and Dreaming, Fox Trot||23.||Wondering, Waltz|
|24.||Whispering Trees, Waltz||24.||I Wonder If We'll Ever Meet Again, Fox Trot|
|25.||Do You Believe in Dreams||25.||Egyptian Echoes, Fox Trot|
|26.||Honey Bunch, Fox Trot||26.||So That's the Kind of Girl You Are, One-Step|
|From roll H-1145 (circa 1927) "Greetings from Harmony Land"||27.||I've Got the Blues for Tennessee, Fox Trot|
|27.||Paree, Dance Parisienne||From roll H-1006 (circa 1925) "Late Radio Successes"|
|28.||Manhattan Mary, Fox Trot||28.||Gimme a Little Kiss, Will Ya, Huh, Fox Trot|
|29.||Does It Make Any Difference to You, Fox Trot||29.||In the Middle of the Night, Waltz|
|30.||Beneath Venetian Skies, Waltz||30.||Pretty Little Baby, Fox Trot|
|31.||I'll Think of You, Fox Trot||31.||Scatter Your Smiles, One-Step|
|32.||Sunshine, Fox Trot||32.||No, Fox Trot|
|33.||Down South, Fox Trot||33.||All That She Is, Is an Old Fashioned Girl, Waltz|
|34.||Are You Thinking of Me Tonight||34.||Masculine Women, Feminine Men, Fox Trot|
|35.||Moonlit Waters, Fox Trot||35.||Everything's Gonna Be All Right, Fox Trot|
|36.||Don't Forget, When the Summer Rolls By, Fox Trot||36.||Talking to the Moon, Fox Trot|
Listen to a sample....