Ken Demko Live at the Lamplighter Inn

Fine food, good drinks, and organist Ken Demko combine for an evening of entertaining pleasure.

As a youngster, my parents used to take me to a restaurant called the Captain's Inn in Toms River, New Jersey. Capain's Inn had a fellow just like this Ken Demko -- he sat behind an incredibly complicated machine with three keyboards and dozens of switches, entertaining us as we ate our lobster and shrimp scampi with delightful renditions of Songs Everyone Knew. I can remember spending many hours (or at least the good part of one hour) watching him throw switches, press footpedals, and somehow get this monstrosity to make music.

The folks at Century/Advent records must remember, too. This disc captures the atmosphere perfectly, right down to the restaurant noises in the background. Demko plays a 1928 Kimball Theatre pipe organ (I read it on the liner notes) while his patrons dine, chat, and otherwise socialize to the tune of Tie a Yellow Ribbon, Beer Barrel Polka, Hava Nagila and even 2001. I don't know whether Ken Demko is still performing today (or even if the Cleveland-based Lamplighter Inn is still open), but with Ken's best performances in the can, does it really matter?

Ken Demko Live at the Lamplighter Inn
(click picture to magnify)
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Tie a Yellow Ribbon (Real Audio) Wherein Ken Demko and the 1928 Kimball meet Tony Orlando and Dawn. A little slow at first, but it picks up.

Your Comments:

Bob Dabbs ( says:
Ken and I were together for over 20 years. I spent years of weekends at The Lamplighter Inn on nights when Ken played there back in the 1970s. I was also there when this recording was made. I performed with him there on occasion, but more frequently at the Lorain Palace Theater. Ken is a unique talent, both at the theater organ as well as classical organ. I no longer live in the Cleveland area, but I understand that Ken is still playing on occasion. (11-22-2004)

Mad Dr. Matt ( says:
Slowly working my way through ALL of these boards. Next!

You know, this record was not that LONG AGO in the scheme of things (or at least that's what I keep telling myself). Thirty years ago there were still people listening pop hits on 1928 Kimball organs whilst drinking something alcoholic with an umbrella in it!



Now the only organs we ever see are on! Why can't there be BOTH? I just don't understand... (11-11-2004)

KERRY & EDWARDS IN '04! says:
VOTE KERRY/EDWARDS! (10-27-2004)

Joli ( says:
This guy is Dudley Moore's evil organ twin. Dudley did piano I realize. But that is where the contrast dies. God save the queen! God save us all from the sound of this organ drawl. I'd rather listen to Buck Owens & all of his Buckaroos. How about Buck Owens & his Electric Bugaloo? Now THAT really would be something. (10-12-2004)

Tango7 ( says:

I like Ken Demko's style..really cool. It's a shame you don't see organs in bars and restaurants anymore. I wonder why? (08-27-2004)

starbuck says:

You're right, Stadium Sports Music has some great hockey organ reminds me of the times when hockey games were fun and cheap. haha! (08-27-2004)

Peanut Head says:
Ken used ta be da backup organ grinder fer JAMMY OSMINDT, but now lookit dat LP cover...he playin' his organ at da CHICAGO BLACKHAWK games now!!

JAMMY says dat Ken was a funky guy wid da lava lamps, smokes, liqour an nekkid party...but he burned his dik onna lava lamp and now he hasta wear dose clothes so dat nobody smell his burnt dik....HONEST!!!

JAMMY say he TOO almost burned HIS.....oops...whazzat Mommy??...(I have to go now...bye) (07-25-2004)

joshua says:
Stadium Sports Music is interesting, i don't know about baseball organ music but I thing Ken rocks! I can imagine sitting there nursing a few vodka 7's to the majestic sounds of Ken Demko...and then nursing a hangover the next day..hahaha! (07-16-2004)

Keith ( says:

I love that organ sound. I just bought a used organ and want to play like that.
Tie a Yellow Ribbon is the ultimate organ song. Lawrence Welk style! If you want to hear some great sounding baseball or hockey organ music, check out Stadium Sports Music Solutions at: I was on there and found some terrific samples of sports organ music. Didn't hear Tie a Yellow Ribbon though! (04-09-2004)

Hugo the Fishhead says:
Have pity on Ken Demko. The man is playing his heart out to an uninterested group of diners. How many nights a week did this man live out his own personal hell. No wonder the music is demonic.

P.S. I love pipe organ renditions of pop hits. (02-12-2004)

Hailey says:
he looks like Uncle Ernie (Keith Moon) in the Tommy flick! (02-05-2004)

Beasty says:
This reminds me of those weird guys in church playing songs on the church organ or a guy stuck inside a carousel playing music. Horrible, it sounds like a funeral. If your with someone this will totally kill the mood, in fact she'll drop you right there and call the police for a restraining order. You should play this the day you want to dump your girl. Demonic, totally demonic..... (07-28-2003)

Monkeyfister says:
Whether it was Captain Courageous Restaurant or the Captain's Inn, one must admit that he wore a fine pair of trousers by any standards. (03-13-2003)

Jersey Boy 1 says:
I think it was the Captain's Courageous restaurant in Toms River, out on the highway that leads to Seaside Heights. (03-07-2003)

Andrea Jochim ( says:
Most people use alcohol to be more comfortable in social situations and have a good time without caring what they're doing or what other people think. To these people I say take a good look at your inner self.

Have you become one of those trophy wives that your husband shows off at parties? Pretending to love you when the only thing he cares about is if you look good on his arm. So you resort to large helpings of white zinfandel sprtitzers and then finally just to the bottle of white zinfandel itself. You start to not care what anyone thinks, most of all your husband, who's already found himself a nice hot girl half his age to flirt with. You sit down on a bench and listen as the blissful sounds of the organ send you off into a dreamy state. You come to when you realize that you have to pee like the dickens and rush off to the bathroom. Oh good, you can check your make-up while you're there.

Staring into the mirror at yourself you notice crows feet around your eyes, sunspots on your forehead, and sagginess around your neck. You're not quite the hot tart you used to be. If only you weren't so shallow as a youngster you would be much happier. Tears start streaming down your face as you realize that you hate yourself. Your face make-up starts to crack and mascara runs and forms clumps here and there. What a loser you are. What music was playing quietly in the background while you were in the bathroom taking a deep dark look at yourself. The music of pipe organist Ken Demko. (02-14-2003)

John Michaelson says:
Hey if Jesus is really writing comments on Ken Demko's organ work, then I will follow in your presence, my all mighty saviour. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Lord! (12-29-2002)

jonaco ( says:
Return with us now to the thrilling days when you heard nothing but lovably cheesy organ music like this at your local ball park, hockey arena, skating rink or TV kiddie show! Don't you miss it? Me too. (11-22-2002)

John says:
Reminiscent of the stuff they used to play at hockey games while warming up the goaltenders or driving the Zamboni. (11-06-2002)

Jesus says:
Feareth not Kenneth Demko, for the Lord loves you, regardless of what others say... but not your music... or your pants. The Lord does loveth a good shrimp cocktail though. (09-10-2002)

Daredevil6 ( says:
What Satan sounds like in music class. Conjures up images of Vincent Price in the "Dr. Phibes" line of movies. I agree with TLB; you cannot wonder about the pants...and the music...and the pants (Our Father, who are in Heaven......) (08-08-2002)

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