Wurlitzer Style 16 Mandolin PianOrchestra
from the Bowers Collection


About This Archive CD Recording
Recorded September 30, 1983 by Tim Westman

The Wurlitzer style 16 PianOrchestra featured on this audio compact disc began its commercial lifetime in 1913 by playing happy melodies in the Shanghai Cafe, a Chinese restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As the story goes, live canaries were to be seen flying about the dining area, adding, no doubt, to the charming ambiance. As far as PianOrchestras go, this is a small sized instrument, standing less than nine feet tall, and with only one rank of pipes: 42 wood violin and violoncello toned pipes. But its relatively "small" size belies its full bodied and rich sound. Moreover, its percussive or trapwork instrumentation is just as impressive as that of the largest Mandolin PianOrchestra. Thus, this "little" PianOrchestra is no slouch when it comes to making itself heard, and performing Wurlitzer musical arrangements.

Click here for pictures and additional historical details about this instrument.

The original source 1/4 inch reel-to-reel tape used as the basis for this CD was recorded by Tim Westman on September 30, 1983.  The PianOrchestra, located in Tim's restoration shop, was recorded without the casework, a decorative furniture shell that merely fits snugly around the mechanical chassis. It is this lack of casework during the recording session that probably accounts for the beautiful tonal balance between all of the musical components, as no musical components were shaded from the microphones. But producing this sonorous sounding compact disk was not a simple task, because, unfortunately, the backing on the source recording tape was beginning to deteriorate, turning into a gummy substance, making recovery of the tape's musical contents questionable. With great persistence, experimentation and some clever tape handling techniques, however, Tim Westman was eventually able to successfully recover everything, although sometimes only after several attempts at extracting the audio data for many of the tunes. The recovered data was placed directly onto a new magnetic medium, which then contained all the good and bad recovery attempts. It was this new tape that was used to sort everything out, only digitizing selected takes for the mastering of this compact disc. Next, once the desired audio signal was safely digitized, it was carefully processed to remove tape hiss and other interfering background noises.

The painstaking result is, I believe, worthy of anyone's listening attention. The selection of music consists entirely of Wurlitzer music -- popular and march favorites from the teens and twenties. Regrettably, though, Tim did not make note of any tune titles or roll numbers during the recording session, so most of them remain unknown. Thus, anyone who can provide correct tune title information is heartily encouraged to do so.

Wurlitzer Style 16 Mandolin PianOrchestra
26 Tracks -- Total Time: 49:55

1.My Raggyadore
2.When Gaby Did The Gaby Glide
3.Our Little Cabaret Up Home
4.A Little Birch Canoe and You, Waltz
5.My Belgian Rose, Fox Trot
6.When You Come Back, and You Will Come Back, There's the Whole World Waiting For You, One-Step
7.I'm Sorry, I Made You Cry, Waltz
8.Oh, How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning, One-Step March
9.He Ran Upstairs (Took A Look) And Ran Right Down Again, Two-Step
10.The Good Ship Mary Ann, Two-Step
11.I Want A Ragtime Bungalow, Two-Step
12.Let's All Go To Mary Ann's, Two-Step
13.Rebecca Of Sunny Brook Farm, Schottische
16.A Perfect Day, Waltz
17.Where Did Robinson Caruso Go With Friday On Saturday Night
26.You Made Me Love You

Listen to a sample.....



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