Please note:

  • All these street organ arrangements are home-made. Contact me if you want a custom arrangement for your own street organ, musical box, barrel piano, or whatever.
  • The MP3s below use Virtual Studio Technology: this is NOT the real sound (my organ also has percussion, and sounds more natural), and someone needs to sing!
  • Lyrics or translations can be displayed live on a screen, karaoke-style.
TitleArtistLaYearComments
Copla del viudo del submarinoJuan Antonio Cantaes1996From the last Andalusian avant-gardist: En el fondo del mar tengo yo / Una novia en silencio / Un poquito de pescaito frito / Me trae su recuerdo
Video, possibly quite old or by somebody else:
George is my horseFay Lovskyen1992George says he don't like these cars / These stone trails, where's the grass? Fay was last seen playing singing saw with Robert Crumb.
EmigrantenWillem Wilmink / Harry Banninknl1990Veel emigranten over zee / nemen al hun gewoontes mee / naar de overkant.
Inland WaterwayJohn Betjeman / Ben Sawyeren1974On the opening of the Upper Avon Navigation by the Queen Mum in 1974, part of the irresistible rise of the Inland Waterways Association: The lock you have reopened will set free / The heart of England to the open sea.
Veerpont / The Floating BridgeDrs. P (Heinz Polzer) / The Singing Organ-Grindernl en1973The proprietor of a floating bridge over the River Lea at the Anchor & Hope philosophises, in my translation, regarding the good times and the bad: We stand here on the banks of a river swift and hot / The other shore is over there and this one here is not.
King of RomeDave Sudbury / June Tabor / The Unthanksen1970s?A pigeon race from Rome to England in 1913: On the day o' the big race a storm blew in / A thousand birds were swept away and never seen again.
Theme from the Magic RoundaboutAlain Legrand1970The bits featuring a barrel organ were more popular in Germany.
Video, possibly quite old or by somebody else:
Theme from Star TrekAlexander Courage / Gene Roddenberry1966With scam-meister Gene Roddenberry's lyrics.
The slow trainFlanders & Swannen1964A nostalgic look at the Beeching cuts.
ZuiderzeeballadeWilly van Hemert / Joop de Leur / Oetze Verschoor / Sylvain Poonsnl1959
De postkoets / La diligenceJos Cleber / Ferry van Delden / De Selvera's / The Catsnl1956
BananasMachitoen nl ca1950The mambo king indulges in a bit of self-parody. Available in English, Catalan or Dutch.
Video, possibly quite old or by somebody else:
Aan de Amsterdamse grachtenPieter Goemans / Johnny Kraaijkamp / Wim Sonneveldnl1949Nostalgic waltz.
Video, possibly quite old or by somebody else:
Capri-Fischer / Fishermen of Capri (Bella, bella Marie)Rudi Schuricke / Gerhard Winkler / Ralph Maria Siegelde en1949Wenn bei Capri die rote Sonne im Meer versinkt: Lola sings this tango in Fassbinder's Wirtschaftswunderbar, but the version by Gracie Fields is also rather special.
KetelbinkieAnton Beuving / Jan Vogelnl1940When we from Rotterdam departed / In the Edam, an ancient hulk. Tragedy of a Dutch (colonial) ship's boy who misses his mum but doesn't know how to tell her. Illegitimate offspring of Thackeray's maritime parody?
Cool waterBob Nolan / Hank Williams / Sons of the Pioneersen1936Gloss on Psalms 42:1: I and my mule, Dan, are crossing the desert when we see a mirage: Can you see that big green tree / Where the water's running free / And it's waiting there for you and me?
Video, possibly quite old or by somebody else:
ZuiderzeeLouis Davidsnl1932The consequences of the construction of the Afsluitdijk dam, which turned the Zuyder Zee from a North Sea inlet into a fresh-water lake.
El nuevo FordCubanoes1920
My old man said follow the vanMarie Lloyd / Lily Morrisen1919For Josep Viladot, great Londoner, exiled in Gracia, Barcelona.
Second Sonata, The Airplane, fragmentoGeorge Antheil1916Everything's back to front: The Singing Organ-Grinder is the plane.
Daisy bellHarry Dacreen1892Love on a tandem: But you'd look sweet / Upon the seat / Of a bicycle built for two.
Trenta giorni di nave a vapore (Thirty days in a steamship)Anonit1890?About the great Italian emigration to the Americas beginning in the late C19th.
Epitaph for James Bosworth, who survived the Charge of the Light Brigade and died, aged 70, a stationmaster at Northam, SouthamptonBen Trovatoen1882His name was actually John Hacker/Hucker Bosworth and his service overseas in the 1850s doesn't seem to include Balaclava, but still a splendid thing: Though shot and shell flew around fast, / On Balaclava’s plain, / Unscathed he passed, to fall at last, / Run over by a train.
Ride of the ValkyriesWagner1880Kazoo special.
De zilvervlootJ.P. Heije / J.J. Viottanl1870
We three kings of Orient areJohn Henry Hopkins, Jr.en1857
Row, row, row your boatTrad.en1852
When Birmingham is a seaport townAndy Casserley / Trad.en1851?Set to a lively tune.
Little Billee aka Little Boy BillyWilliam Makepeace Thackeray / Bob Robertsen1845Cannibal shanty based on Thackeray's parody of La Courte Paille / Il était un petit navire (C16th?). There are also Catalan and Italian versions, but the best are the Portuguese Nau Catarineta, sung ceremonially in parts of Brazil, and the Dutch Ketelbinkie. I believe the latter is also based on Thackeray. The best-known English melody is that of Bob Roberts and has much in common with that in Harold Scott's English Song Book (1925). Ralph Steadman did a nice piratey version.
I saw three shipsTrad.en1833
Ford V8Enrique Jardiel Poncela / The Singing Organ-GrinderesCuban song in praise of Henry Ford's motors: ¿Y no callé siempre y siempre me callo / los contados días que tienes un fallo?

Update: 2018/09/15