By NOEL MURPHY
HE’S been described as a cross between Bob Downe and Dennis Lillee – all moustache, wild hair and flashing pearly whites – but Barry Morgan’s greatest asset is his organ.
It’s a smacking Hammond Aurora Classic, complementing Morgan’s safari suit, cravat, white shoes and socks, gemstone knuckledusters and gold chains.
Morgan is the creation of Stephen Teakle, a one-time Gordon tech wool classer out of Geelong. His character is an entertainer who puts the boss in bossa nova and the yes in polyester.
And he’s headed back Geelong’s way on 1 August to demonstrate his famous “one finger method”. The technique, he says, is the safest way to get the most out of an organ with just one digit, and a proven crowd-pleaser.
Morgan has sold out live shows at festivals and venues across Australia to New Zealand and Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
He was plucked from obscurity to perform on ABC’s Spicks and Specks, becoming an instant audience favourite.
Morgan has also graced screens on Gordon Street Tonight, The Marngrook Footy Show and ABC’s New Years Eve Pub Quiz.
One reviewer described his show as “entertainment with a capital E“.
“Who knows, Adelaide’s own Barry Morgan may yet become this city’s greatest icon. Bigger than Don Dunstan, bigger than Bung Fritz!”
Speaking with the Independent, Morgan extolled the virtues of the one-finger style while detailing a little of his early days in the genre.
“I got into music through my dear departed mother, Nancy Morgan, God bless her heart but she did die happy, that’s important,” he said.
“She introduced me to Mr Murchison the church organist. When I heard those wonderful sounds it stopped me in my tracks.
“I was taken, by Mr Murchison, in church and Nancy took it on herself to invest in my lessons.”
That was back in the instrument’s glory days when organs were the epitome of home entertainment, Morgan explained.
“It’s a beautiful instrument, difficult to play but easy to start. I did a mix of Alley Cat, the grooviest thing back as a teen, played Stravinski on the church organ and was excommunicated but that was okay with me.
“It sent to forward on to rumba, samba and other Brazilians – I’ve seen a few Brazilians, I can tell you.”
The demise of the organ saddened Morgan, who said he was doing his bit for its resurrection – while plugging the virtues of vermouth in the meantime.
“The sponsors are banging on my door,” he said.
“And given how many home organs are in hard rubbish, I need to diversify.”
Morgan will present his World of Organ’s Home Organ Party Experience Tour at Geelong Performing Arts Centre. Aussie rock legend James Reyne will perform as Morgan’s special cameo guest on the night.