Although off topic of concertinas, let me ask you about the bodhrán ( tambourine) playing of that era. I have seen a few occurrences of jingles on old instruments over the years, sometimes played open hand. The technique you call the thumb roll, is amazing. Is it just that you don't hear the attack, and the player rocking the drum? or is his thumb dragging against the skin causing a vibration?
Off (concertina) topic it may be, but the subject of old-style tambourine playing is one I'm always happy to talk about!
I first discovered Irish music around 1970, at a time when country people in Ireland still used the name tambourine for the instrument that has since become known as a bodhran (probably thanks to Sean O Riada), and those tambourines commonly had jingles on them. My first introduction was hearing Seamus Tansey play one (he's very good on it!) on his 1970 Leader LP (Masters of Irish Music: Séamus Tansey with Eddie Corcoran, Leader LEA 2005), and Joe Cooley's brother, Jack, made a fine fist of playing tambourine with him on his 1973 recordings: https://www.youtube....h?v=CGzJdoMeoQY.
Another noteworthy player was Bobby Casey's uncle, the fiddler and dancing master Thady Casey, from the Crosses of Annagh, here photographed in 1957:
Whist another YouTube clip shows Denis Murphy also playing with the tambourine player Marcus Walsh (from Quilty) at the 1966 Kilrush Fleadh Cheoil: http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=_iuXCsD5jis
The thumb roll is played by (as you describe it) the "thumb dragging against the skin causing a vibration"- it's a technique commonly used by tambourine players in various styles, including English country music. A common tradition perhaps?
Edited to add:
How common were these type of tambourines ( 17 or 18 inch) in the west? I know I have seen old photos of wren boys with similar instruments.
Older tambourines/bodhrans tended to be smaller than 17 or 18 inches in size, and my experience would be that this made them better-suited to being played in the old "open" style (i.e. without being damped by the left hand) which tends to sound very "boomy" on an 18". The Killavil, South Sligo, maker Sonny Davey made his own rims and many of his older drums were 15" in diameter, which I think suits the old way of playing it best, though he also made 13 1/2" and (in later years) 18" bodhrans.
But when sieves were used for rims the size might depend on what was available in the local hardware shop! So my Davy Gunn bodhran is 16", whilst a crude old tunable one (also made from a sieve - almost certainly by Ted Furey) that I have is more like 18".
But I have seen smaller country-made tambourines - one in Listowel, Co. Kerry and another (by Sonny Davey) that's at the Sailor's Home pub outside Gurteen, Co. Sligo - whilst Jack Cooley appears to have been using a factory-made tunable tambourine, perhaps a 13 1/2" German-made one (such as I also have) - it's visible briefly at the beginning of the Joe Cooley clip, and much more clearly in this 1993 photo of him:
So the (18"?) tambourine in the Packie Russell clips, from Doolin, is of an unusually large size (and it appears to be the same drum in both instances - maybe it too belonged to the pub, like Packie's concertina), whilst the only other one of that size that I've come across has been in the hands of a player in neighbouring Lisdoonvarna, so perhaps made in North Clare by the same person?
Most of my experience of traditional music has been in Counties Clare, Kerry and West Limerick in the South West of Ireland, and also further north in Co. Sligo, and I've encountered tambourines with jingles in all those places. No doubt they were also played elsewhere - as witnessed by the likes of Jack Cooley (Co. Galway) and Davy Fallon (Co. Westmeath).
But these days the tambourine seems (with the exception of mine) to be just about extinct in Ireland, though there are still old-style players around, like Ted McGowan or Seamus Tansey, both from Gurteen, who will gladly give mine a tip given half a chance. Indeed, when Seamus recorded 'Phantom Shadows of a Connaught Fire Light' they had to try to approximate the sound of Wren Boys playing traditional tambourines, for his Wren monologue, by combining the sound of bodhrans with that of orchestral tambourines, because they couldn't find any surviving examples. However, I've since backed him several times doing it, on the real thing!
Edited to add photo of Jack Cooley in 1993
Edited by Stephen Chambers, 04 December 2015 - 12:39 AM.