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Bill Blunk - Just Plain Bill
Bill Blunk Studio, 5/24 Marr & Colton
Portland, OR
1968, Sound City #1801

Review from Theatre Organ, August 1968:
JUST PLAIN BILL, Bill Blunk at his 5-manual Marr & Colton Theatre Organ, Sound City label No. 1801, stereo, available by mail, $5.25 postpaid, Sound City, 4136 N.E. 28th Avenue, Portland, Oregon.
Click for a larger version of this image (50K) The story of Bill Blunk's quest after the 5-24 Marr& Colton which once graced Rochester's (N.Y.) Loew's and how he rescued it from a Schenectady (N.Y.) music store is well documented. Now safely installed in a Portland building and the object of affection to both local ATOEers and the Portland Theatre Organ Club, it's a monument to Bill's love of the theatre instrument. But what of Bill? Is he really one of those players who play trap-happy "thrump-boom" style so often associated with rink stylings (because skating rinks have often been Bill's bread and butter--and he originally bought the M&C for his rink)? He has often played it for skaters. Does this mean we are to be confronted with a Ken Griffin on pipes?
Not at all; Bill Blunk's approach is a pleasing one, based mainly on traditional theatre organ stylings, but with plenty of surprises. There's lots of variety; Bill's selections range from South Sea island magic ("Adventures in Paradise") to Herb Alpert ("Music to Watch Girls By") to military marches ("Our Director"). And he has a great time demonstrating the many distinctive voices of the M&C, which is especially rich in reeds.
The only time the "rink player" in Bill shows is when he's playing a rhythm tune; that very even, slightly heavy pedal. And he's at his best playing tunes with a beat, such as "Chicago." He takes a fresh rhythmic tack for "Charade" (which is marred by a "palm schmear"), captures the spirit of the '20s with "Glad Rag Doll" and brings out the lush M&C Tibias for a fine ballad treatment of "Once in a While." Bill reaches "way back" for his ricky-tick treatment of "Me and the Boy Friend," complete with 1926 jazzband (Posthorn) riffs, but supplies a sweet treatment of "Please Don't Talk About Me" throughout the verse. Then it changes to bright rhythm chorus in old-fashioned "spotlight solo" style. Also heard are a soulful "Non Dimenticar (mellow reeds), "Petticoats of Portugal'' (a variety of reeds take turns with the melody), a typical "intermission-style" rendering of "So What's New?" right down to the tinpan piano, a rumpty-tum "Something Stupid," and a soporific "Moonlight in Vermont." Incidentally, "Our Director" gets the most effective brass band treatment we've heard captured in grooves to date.
If there's any critical comment to be made, it's on the technical side, probably in dubbing; the cuts are at different volume levels. Most are even, but a few are much louder. Surface tends to have a few pops, but that could be just on our review copy.

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