Monday, December 06, 2021

Christmas Organ--Ken Griffin (Rondo-lette A 38: 1959), or (Allegro1621; 1956): Take your pick


Choice is always a nice thing to have, and here's a Ken Griffin LP from the Eli Oberstein label group whose jacket says "Rondo-lette A 38" (which came out in 1959) while the label says "Allegro 1621," which would put the release date at 1956.  Maybe this record/jacket combo exist simultaneously in two multiverses.  I mean, it's possible...

Anyway, Eli Oberstein was famous for (among other things) this kind of label mismatching, and, given that Rondo-lette started in 1958, we can only guess that Eli ran out of Rondo-lette discs and stuck in a leftover Allegro issue.  Only problem is, Oberstein is supposed to have sold off all of his Record Corp. of America holdings when he started Rondo-lette--yet, in this case he's clearly reissuing a (fake) RCA side.  Oh, well--it does no good to ponder such cheap-label mysteries.  The "junk" labels followed no rules that anyone, including me, can establish.

Found this at a flea market, and I was pretty sure the vinyl was too beat to yield a good file, but... surprise!  Things sound mostly great, and I probably owe it all to my (you'll never guess) 1.2 mil stylus.  Not much to say about these performances except that they're very expert and very lively--a thoroughly enjoyable listen.  Griffin is typically associated with Columbia, so with this LP we get to hear from his Rondo period.  This is vintage Ken.  And that cover is just classic.  The original Allegro jacket from 1956 was far less memorable, so I'm glad I ran across this edition.  As for the little girl getting two white cats (who look several weeks old, at least) in a Christmas package, um... that doesn't seem very realistic.  And the felines don't appear too happy to be in the pic.  Cats love nothing better than boxes (and shopping bags)--they're the perfect play stations for the creatures--so maybe the two cats hopped into the Christmas box after it was opened.

The credits are ambiguous (big surprise!) in that the "Organ and Chimes" side may or may not feature Ken, since his name isn't printed on it.  Then again, it could be him.  Anyway, I love the color scheme and the cats-for-Christmas theme.  The music is nice, too.  Oh, and was Ken playing on an actual Christmas organ?  Are there, in fact, organs made especially for Christmas?  A mystery to ponder in our spare time.

As ever, the "Fideles" in Adeste Fideles is misspelled "Fidelis."  It's like a typo that infected the cheap-label Christmas listings.

DOWNLOAD: Christmas Organ, Featuring Ken Griffin (Rondo-lette or Allegro)

Jingle Bells

Oh Tannenbaum

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Up on the House Top

Winter Wonderland

Silent Night

Adeste Fidelis (sic)

First Noel

Little Town of Bethlehem

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

Away in the Manger

Christmas Organ, Featuring Ken Griffin (Rondo-lette A 38; 1959, or Allegro 1621; 1956)



Buster said...

I wonder if these are repackagings of his 78s for Rondo, etc.

Lee Hartsfeld said...


That would be my guess, yes. Apparently, Oberstein bought the Rondo label at some point.

Ernie said...

Thanks, Lee!

Bryan said...

Hey Lee,
Glad you posted this one. Very nice to have something different from vocal tracks. I think I read after Ken died they continued releasing additional material for quite some time. Maybe, it was another artist?

Blind Blake said...

Thank you for the music. I love Ken Griffin Christmas tunes!