Nota bene:

  • 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.
TitleArtistLaYearCommentsLinks
The Eddic Poem of the Vikinges Who Do Go BerserkLe Vostre GCen2014Nyne vikinges and a mightye troll / Joyne eight moore for sea patrol.
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
Jan Klaassen de trompetterLennaert Nijgh / Boudewijn de Groot / Rob de Nijsnl1973The life and loves of Jan Claesen, a legendary Dutch figure, supposedly trumpeter in the army of Frederick Henry of Orange-Nassau, afterwards a type of Punch figure.
De Soldatenmoeder / The Soldiers' MotherZangeres Zonder Naam / Singing Organ-Grindernl en1969A Dutch neo-broadside ballad about the Vietnam War in my translation. Probably unintentionally, its theme is similar to Brecht's Mother Courage, but the treatment is more startling and profound.
Colonel BogeyKenneth Alford / Tijuana Brass1965
James Bond themeJohn Barry1962Quasi-ska version. Virtual excerpt:
De Blinde SoldaatZangeres Zonder Naamnl1961A soldier back from the front can't see his new-born son because he has lost his sight.
I'm no communistCarson Robison / Scotty Wisemanen1952Cold War country alla Ronald Reagan: I'm no communist, I'll tell you that right now / I believe a man should own his own house and car and cow / I like this private ownership, I wanna be left alone / Let the government run its business, and let me run my own.
Stalin wasn't stallin'Golden Gate Jubilee Quarteten1943An American gospel quartet lauds Uncle Joe's revenge on his old friend Hitler.
Complainte pour l'orgue de la nouvelle barbarieLouis Aragonfr1940Wartime poem from after his conversion to Marxism: Ceux qu'arrêtèrent les barrages. / Sont revenus en plein midi. / Morts de fatigue et fous de rage.
Утомлённое солнце (Weary sun)/To ostatnia niedziela (This is the last Sunday)Jerzy Petersburski / Zenon Friedwald / Iosif Alvek / Pavel Mikhailovru1935Polish tango about failed love, also done in a Russian, Black Sea-ish version. Featured in Yuriy Norshteyn's stunning Tale of Tales.
Whip and spurThomas S. Allen1890Morning, ladies.
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.
Blaze away marchHolzmann1880
In een blauwgeruite kiel (Draaiersjongen)Anton de Ropnl1875
De zilvervlootJ.P. Heije / J.J. Viottanl1870
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.
When that I was and a little tiny boy (Hey, ho, the wind and the rain)William Shakespeare / John Harle1601Feste the Fool's closing song from Twelth Night. Version of Elvis Costello's version of the traditional version sung by Alfred Deller.
Het WilhelmusTrad.nl1570?Naar de versie voor Dubbele Biphone die door de Leidse politie in 1940 in beslag werd genomen en in 2012 voor het eerst opnieuw werd uitgevoerd.
Der Kampf des Roraffen mit dem HanenAnon / The Singing Organ-Grinderde en1450?Translated excerpt from a Low German saga in which a puritanical rooster-man drives a fun-loving monkey-man out of Strasbourg Cathedral.

Update: 2018/04/20