Monday, July 25, 2011

The New Organolians on a Service Library ENSA Disc

Overseas Recording Broadcasting Service entertained British troups during the war.
Every Night Something Awful
Hans Koert

The New Organolians on a Service Library ENSA Disc (English) De New Organolians op een Engelse "V-Disc" uit de Tweede Wereldoorlog (Nederlands)

I love to nose about at junk shops and jumble sales and a month ago we had such a local fair in our village in the southwest part of The Netherlands. In a pile of old 78rpm recordings, most rubbish, I found one that attracted my attention - an lp-sized record with a yellow-white Service Library label.
2460. Roses from the South by the New Organolians. Released as Services Library 2.E.N. 9418. / M.K. 4961 ca. 1944 ( Hans Koert collection)
These 78rpm records were produced by the Overseas Recorded Broadcasting Service of the Navy, Army and Air Force and recorded for ENSA. On the label also the words Not For Sale.
I payed one euro for it - I hope the British forces will turn a blind eye to that..........

2461. Mother's Silver Wedding Day // 2462. Minor Mood Released as Services Library 2.E.N. 9419. / M.K. 4961 ca. 1944 (Hans Koert collection)
I found out that ENSA stands for: Entertainments National Service Association, an organization founded in 1938-1939 to provide entertainment for the British and allied armed forces and war workers during the Second World War. During the war it provided all types of entertainment, from full-length plays and symphony orchestras to concert parties and solo instrumentalists, not only in the camps, factories, and hostels of Great Britain but on all war fronts, from the Mediterranean to India and from Africa to The Faeroes, I found at the internet
(source: )
I read too that the soldiers, who were entertained by the ENSA, sometimes translated the acronym ENSA as Every Night Something Awful.
Most of the records, released by the ENSA were to provide recorded entertainment to the forces stationed in Britain and and the war fronts during the Second World War, like the V-Disc in the US Army. Most of the records were 15 up to 30 minutes radio shows, but there were also studio recordings, like mine. My record contains three tunes by a group featuring an organ. I found out that the New Organolians were directed by Sgt. Jimmy Leach.

Jimmy Leach (1905-1975) ( source:
Jimmy Leach started, aged 21, to play professional as a pianist and organist with Henry Hall. He became a celebrated composer in England of mostly light music pieces. In 1939, aged 34 years old, he joined the British army, like so many young men did in those days and founded, together with Hammond organist Harry Farmer, a group called Organola, later the Organolists and featured four, somethimes five members who played Hammond organ, piano, bass, drums and guitar, but sometimes also violin and clarinet. During the war they changed its name in the New Organolians. Jimmy Leach and his bands became popular until the late 1960s, in British radio programs like Music While You Work, which started in June 1940 and lasted until the 1960s. ( source:

Jimmy Leach and one of his bands ( source:

The music on the record is light organ music and not really my piece of cake, although Minor Mood entertains me better as it has a great violin player. Can someone inform me who plays the violin on that track?
I found out that these 78rpm records seem to be rather rare and on the intenet I found only three more records by this (New) Organolians released by the Service Library:
1547 & 1548 2EN-7630-1 Sgt Jimmy Leach and his Organolians:
Shoemaker's Holiday // If I Had My Way (vocal: Leslie Douglas ?)
1549 & 1550 2EN-7631-1 Sgt Jimmy Leach and his Organolians Remember
How Deep Is The Ocean? (vocal: Leslie Douglas ?)
1727 & 1728 2EN-7999-1 The New Organolians directed by Sgt Jimmy Leach ? (waltz)
It Can't Be Wrong (vocal: Gerry Fitzgerald) // Victory Polka MK 4143 (vocal: Gerry Fitzgerald)
1735 & 1736 2EN-8003-1 The New Organolians directed by Sgt Jimmy Leach
The River Of The Roses (vocal: Gerry Fitzgerald ?) // Steamboat Rag (That's A Plenty)
1737 & 1738 2EN-8004-1 Bottle Party / Commando Patrol
The catalogue numbers for these are 3964 and 4143 and 4145, so I guess mine (4961) must be from the end of the Second World War ca. 1944 ( Source:

I hope someone can give me some more info about these rare British "V-discs"
Hans Koert
Twitter: #keepswinging

I' m not a real 78rpm collector, but fascinated by special or rare seen record labels. This 78rpm record, LP-sized, by the New Organolians, released by the Overseas Recorded Broadcasting Service fascinated me and I found out that it was similiar to the better known V-Dusc, released by the US Army during the Second World War. Keep Swinging loves to point you to this kind of rare seen records. If you don't want to miss any contribution, follow the blog at Twitter: #keepswinging or ask for its free newsletter; - Two versions are published; a Dutch and an English ones - tell me which ones you like (or both of course.

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Anonymous Brian Reynolds said...

As the author of the article on the 'turnipnet' site from which the pictures are taken, I can tell you that the group picture is of the Jimmy Leach Organolian Quartet which was the title of the New Organolians when they ceased to be 'new' in the 1950's. They consisted of organ, piano, drums and guitar. A bass player was added in the early sixties. As you note ,some of their early records have the addition of violin and clarinet

1:36 PM  

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