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Crane Driver

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Everything posted by Crane Driver

  1. I'm sure you're right, Geoffrey, but it was worth asking the question. We all assume the 'C&S' stands for 'Crane & Sons', and the absence of a 'C&S' number on a Triumph-labelled box supports that assumption. Maybe one day we'll know for certain. Andrew
  2. I have one of these - excellent instrument Before you sell it, please have a look at this thread:- http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=13756 and let us know if your instrument has a second 'C&S' serial number stamped into the bar of one hand strap. We are trying to work out the relationship between the Lachenal and C&S number series, if there is one. Thanks Andrew
  3. Try the Chanty Cabin for an immense range - it's UK based but deals worldwide. Andrew
  4. I would say that rather than choosing a concertina system on how easy it is (perceived to be) to learn/play, go for the one that produces the music you want. Listen to someone like Keith Kendrick, who plays both English and Anglo. The two systems produce quite different effects (there'd be no point in playing both if they didn't). As someone who plays neither, my impression is that the English tends to favour smoother music with melodic embellishment while the Anglo tends to give more bounce and harmony. It is possible to play an English more like an Anglo and vice versa, but why? If it's just going to be your second instrument, you'll want to go with the style that comes most naturally to it. Getting an instrument that is easier to learn but ultimately is the wrong instrument, won't get you anywhere. Of course we duet players are smug - why shouldn't we be? ;-} Andrew
  5. I've got a 48 with Crane & Sons label which looks a lot like yours - Lachenal serial no 256 on the insides. The right hand bar, which carries the Lachenal trade mark, also has a second number impressed into the wood - C & S 844, which I assume is a Crane & Sons number. However, my other Crane, a 56 'New Model', which a Lachenal-badged with serial number 693, also carries a 'C & S' number, partly obscured now by wear, which appears to have been 'C & S 08809'. I don't really know what is going on there, and I suspect no-one else does these days either. Crane & Sons still exist today (trading as Crane Music) but don't have anything to do with concertinas. They were originally piano makers and suppliers based in Liverpool. John Butterworth, who invented the Crane system, was a piano tuner from Cheshire and probably already had a working relationship with Cranes when he devised his system. Welcome to the club - there can never be too many Crane Drivers around!
  6. Hey, yes - not only a very useful bag, but the brand name on it is 'Crane' - must be good! Andrew
  7. Somehow it seems - appropriate - that a duet concertina system should be named for a bigamist! Anyway, not being one to pass up the opportunity to re-invent the wheel, I've been digging further John Maccann the elder was apparently born about 1820 in Sutton, Lincolnshire (about 15 miles east of Spalding). There is a record of a John Maccann baptised there in 1819, and his parents were Michael Maccann and Alice Hillham. There was an elder brother too, named Hillham Maccann, who appears in the 1841 census living in Spalding, where he is a china merchant. John Maccann is on the same page, apparently lodging in a nearby inn. His trade at the time (he was still only a teenager) was potter - if it wasn't for the recurrence of the name 'Hillam' or 'Hillham' amongst John's children, I might doubt the identification. Andrew
  8. Irene - if you look at that 1881 census where "Eliza Maccann, wife of musician (absent)" is living at 37 Morley Place, Plymouth, she is sharing with a Sarah Makepeace, whose (also absent) husband has three stepchildren, Emily, William and Lavinia McCann (sic), who must be John H's siblings from the 1871 census. So Sarah Makepeace must be the ex-Mrs Maccann, John's mother. The Plymouth records list a Sarah Maccann as marrying a Charles Ernest Makepeace in 1874, so presumably the elder John Maccann died before that, and there is a John Maccann who died Plymouth in 1871 (after the census was taken). Eliza Maccann was born Eliza Wood Passmore Reed and married John Hill Maccann in Plymouth in 1878. In 1891, when John and Minnie are living in Liverpool, "Eliza W P Mcan" is living in Exeter with her parents Herbert and Eliza Reed. Perhaps "John H Maccann" changed his middle name to Henry for his 1908 wedding because "John Hill Maccann" was still legally married to Eliza. Eliza apparently lived on to 1914. Ah, the carefree life of the professional musician! Andrew
  9. I've been doing some family history research, so have a subscription to Ancestry. I tried John H Maccann there, and found an entry which may be of interest. It's dated 22 April 1908, and is a parish record from St Stephen's, Edge Hill, Liverpool. It records the marriage of John Henry Maccann, Musician, aged 47 (hence born 1861), widower, son of John Hill Maccann, Musician, deceased, to Sarah Jane Kennerley, a spinster aged 32. The groom's signature, I noticed, originally read 'John Hill Maccann', but then the 'Hill' has been crossed out and substituted with 'Henry'. There is a John H McCann (sic), musician, born 1861 in Birmingham, in the Liverpool census of 1891, where his wife is a vocalist named Minnie. A Minnie Maccann died Liverpool early in 1908. Given the different spellings of my own family name in census and church records, I'm not surprised by the different spellings of 'Maccann' - I think people had a more relaxed approach to spelling then. Andrew McKay
  10. There's some sample clips of my Crane Duet playing on our website Crane Drivin' Music but so far I haven't got round to doing any of this YouTube business. I mainly use the Crane for song accompanyment, which means that it's secondary to the singing. I don't know if that's what Alan wants for Duet International or whether he's going to concentrate on recordings where the duet is centre stage - I've sent Alan a CD but not heard anything since. I do have some newer recordings if you're interested, Alan! I hope my playing has improved since then too! A couple of years ago I was asked to do a Duet Concertina workshop at the Crediton Folk Festival in Devon (UK) - about eight people turned up, mostly with Cranes (there was one MacCann, as I remember). I thought it went well. There were two of us with Cranes at the Falmouth Shanty Festival as well, the other being Charlotte Oliver of Charlotte and Spong. So we're definitely around. Andrew Mckay
  11. Sounds very like one of my practice sessions . . . Andrew
  12. Hi all Andrew 'Crane Driver' McKay and 'Sussex' Carole Etherton will be at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club in the Elephant and Castle on Saturday 17 October 2009. Starts at 8:00-ish. A selection of trad-style songs mostly accompanied on Crane Duet concertina. Hope to meet some squeezer-geezers (and geezettes) there - do please introduce yourselves. If you come up to me at the interval and say 'You are Crane Driver and I claim my prize' . . . you will probably get stared at in a most disturbing manner. Andrew
  13. I know that Charlotte Oliver of Charlotte & Spong is in discussion with a concertina maker over producing Cranes going down an extra row to G on both sides - it'll happen if enough people want one. God knows what they'll cost, but it's only money(!) Won't take you down to that low C though. Andrew
  14. I was at a party last weekend and someone asked about my concertina. I said it was a crane duet and he said "I've only met three crane drivers face to face". I explained I was the original Crane Driver, but it seems I've become a generic term for someone who plays the Crane. I'm sort of pleased by that, I'd like to take it as a compliment. Andrew McKay
  15. Hey Aeola - I just made it easy for you by joining a concertina group. Now all you got to do is work out which one! Andrew
  16. I'm there too, as Andrew McKay, which is a bit of a coincidence because that's my name. It uses whichever name you use when you sign on, so it's your own fault if you don't like it Make friends with me if you dare. Andrew Crane Drivin' Music
  17. Hi Charles Doing a quick check, I find I tend to 'hook' my thumbs over the straps (I prefer to call them knuckle straps rather than wrist straps), which gives me control without the need to tense the hand. I've also developed the habit of steadying the instrument with my little fingers below the buttons (roughly where an EC's pinkie plate would be) - until I need the extra finger to get at one of those buttons in the dusty corner. I also prefer to play sitting down, which allows me to steady the instrument on one knee. There has been some discussion about the advantages and otherwise of the EC thumb strap/pinkie plate arrangement versus the anglo/duet knuckle straps. I suspect the knuckle straps of the anglo are at least as important as the 'suck/blow' reeding in producing the more bouncy dance styles associated with that instrument - I play the Crane in a ceilidh band and can produce a fair bit of bounce and lift despite not having to change bellows direction to get all the notes. The EC system seems better suited to smoother playing. Of course there are many people playing bouncy dance music on EC, but several players I have met say it's harder. For some idea of what I do with my Crane, try our website Crane Drivin' Music for some sound samples. There are also a couple of photos that show the 'thumb hook' in operation. Best wishes, Andrew McKay
  18. Well, we're setting off for the States in a day or so, really looking forward to this festival. An 'embarassment of concertinas' indeed. Hopefully there'll be some more players amongst the attendees as well as the performers. This is us Andrew
  19. Well of course, Duets would have to be in gold . . . Andrew
  20. Whitby folk festival, 1971 (it was just a weekend festival back then) Lea Nicholson was the guilty party, I went to a concertina workshop and was hooked by the sound, the portability and the fact that it didn't need tuning. Went home determined to get one. Lea had said there were two types of concertina, English and Anglo. Two weeks later, I was in a junk shop looking at something which, while certainly a concertina, was neither an English or an Anglo. I bought it anyway, and it cost me the equivalent of 5 weeks rent. Turned out to be a 35 button Crane Duet, though it was about a year before I learnt that. I worked out where the notes were, which was easy for 3 reasons: 1. It was colour coded, white and black notes, plus the notes of 'C' were red 2. I could still make out letters engraved in the ends of some buttons 3. It's a Crane, right? Anyway, I learnt a couple of tunes. That meant I was promoted from 15th best guitarist at my local club (where there were only 15 guitarists) to best concertina player (I was the only one). That sort of thing is good for a young man's ego. Part-exchanged that box for a 48 button Crane from Neil Wayne two years later (I still have that one). Still hadn't met anyone else who played one until I went to a Concertina weekend in the Lake District about '75 or '76, so I've been teaching myself - aka making it up as I go along. It works for me. Buying that first concertina was probably the biggest single life-changing decision I've made. Andrew McKay Crane Drivin' Music
  21. It may also help (though probably not a lot) if you could indicate the maker - Wheatstone, Lachenal, Crabb or somebody else? A photo is worth a thousand words And it's easier to type Andrew
  22. I'm sure you're right about Cranes, Jim - I also have never seen a Crane that didn't go down to middle C in the right hand. I'd love to get one of those 'fiddle G' instruments, I often have to play song accompanyments that go below middle C to be comfortable for the voice. I can usually play, or sometimes imply, the low note(s) on the left hand, or harmonise something that fits, but it would be nice to have the option of playing down to G. I rarely if ever use the high notes, far too shrill for my taste, so I'd gladly sacrifice them. Andrew
  23. I guess he should have said "Non Angli sed Polypasta" in that case, which of course translates as "Not Anglos, but Cranes!" I thought only Italian instruments were built of Polypasta? If you mean Cranes as in birds, the correct term is Gruidae But let's not get technical! Andrew
  24. " ... the concertina playing angel is Tim Laycock." In that case, the angel is playing a Crane Duet, rather than an anglo. How appropriate. ;-} Andrew
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