For most folks in the U.S., the name Reginald Dixon may not raise many eyebrows, but for anyone in the U.K. who had a radio between the years of 1930 and 1970, Reginald Dixon was "Mr Blackpool," the master of the mighty three-manual, 14-rank "Wonder Wurlitzer" organ that was enshrined in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom. Not only did he help design it, he mastered it, developing a uniquely trembling tiba approach that became known as the "Blackpool Sound" to the millions of listeners who tuned in to his regular Sunday broadcasts all over Europe. This best-of collection offers 35 fine examples of Dixon's incredible musical dexterity, and whether you're an organ fan or not, it's almost impossible to imagine that one solo individual was responsible for the avalanche of sound that appears on these tracks. It's a massively layered, complex, and huge sound -- bigger than life and awesome, in the truest sense. To see the man at work would have been the best way to experience his genius, but these recordings still manage to convey the visceral nature of his performances quite well -- the "next best thing to being there," so to speak. Tracks like "Saber Dance," "Spanish Gypsy Dance," and the impossibly fleet-fingered (and footed!) "Times Square Dance" delight and excite as testaments to the heights of human co-ordination. On the slow-and-sweet side, the "St Bernard Waltz" (and several selections from the Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Noël Coward songbooks) show Dixon at his amicable, danceable best. A must-have for any serious ballroom dance aficionado and a prime example of the complex art of the organ, The Very Best of Reginald Dixon should delight and impress, no matter what kind of music you dance to.
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AllMusic Review by J. Scott McClintock
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2