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Jim Besser

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Everything posted by Jim Besser

  1. Indeed I do remember that canal side jam, with a great deal of pleasure. And we're planning to do the Erie Canal ride again this year - and maybe we can do it again!
  2. It's a fine tune for experimenting with arrangements. Here's a recording I did recently - on Anglo, forgive me.
  3. Remember? Are you kidding? I am spending time these days revisiting old tunes looking for new ways to play them.
  4. And now for something different...I've been updating a tune we used to play for contra dances - American Patrol, an 1885 march by Frank White Meacham that became a Swing Era hit for Glenn Miller in 1942. Played on a 30 button CG Anglo concertina. https://soundcloud.com/concertinist/american-patrol-1-14-2023
  5. I bought a square Herrington CG (possibly the one in the picture above! It looks like my case) 25 or so years ago, and have since owned a number of more traditionally shaped instruments. I'll leave a technical discussion of the ergonomics of instrument shape to those who are more knowledgable. What I can say: I never felt much of a difference in terms of playability. For a few years, I'd switch back and forth at dances between the square Herrington and a more conventionally shaped vintage Anglo without any awkwardness. I played the Herrington standing up for Morris, sitting down for contra/ceilidh dances, and never felt that the shape had any impact on my playing Having owned a number of instruments and played many more, I believe there is no universally "right" box shape, button design, button spacing, etc. We all have preferences, but my experience is that we quickly adapt to physical differences in the instruments we end up with. Every new instrument I've purchased felt awkward and strange at first, then perfectly fine after a while. We can drive ourselves a little crazy obsessing about a chimerical perfection.
  6. A Shetland fiddle tune, played on a 30 button Jeffries G/D Anglo. I played it a bit last year, but it came up this week as the tune of the week on a Facebook music group, and I thought I'd try a different arrangement. And it reminds me to say: happy holidays to all and a happy new year.
  7. Of course I remember him from Bucksteep - but he was also at CHiminey Corners as recently as 5 or 6 years ago. I remember because he was the only musician who wanted to play Horizonto, one of my favorites!
  8. I first heard this on an excellent new CD by English concertina player Robin Beech, and wondered how it would work on the Anglo. The intriguingly named "Bang Your Frog on the Sofa" was written by Will Harmon, and I suppose if it's representative of a genre, it could be labeled Irish. Whatever, it's a lovely tune. Here played on a 30 button Jeffries G/D Anglo. https://soundcloud.com/concertinist/bang-your-frog-on-the-sofa-2-12-2022
  9. Amazing, as always. I know how much energy you put into arrangements, and it really shows.
  10. An interesting comment. As an Anglo player who doesn't play Irish, I realized recently that the ITM players I like to listen to are mostly playing English concertinas. Something about the way ITM on the Anglo has evolved does not attract me; the EC players I know who play Irish seem to focus more on the beauty of the melodies, less on extreme ornamentation and raw speed. I know this is heresy, but there you have it. I don't claim this as a universal truth, just one old guy's personal preference.
  11. Thanks! I was wondering about the second tune; it's very cool, and pretty challenging on 30 button Anglo. I actually have 2 copies of the Anglo International set - an early pre-release version and the commercial version, whose tidy CD case fell apart from overuse. And what a fantastic resource it is. Now all my music is on the compute and phone, and the CDs are tucked away in boxes, which reduces clutter but also means I don't have access to liner notes. Seemed like a good idea at the time....
  12. The Bedfordshire March. I first heard this on the Anglo International compilation set, I believe played by Andy Turner , but I can't find the CD to verify, and I may have remembered it creatively - incorrectly, if you prefer. According to the Traditional Tune Archive, it's also known as Jove in His Chair, Major Reed's March, Odd Fellows' March and The Suffolk March. Enough names for any tune, I think. Played on a 30 button Jeffries GD Anglo.
  13. I'm currently using two SM57s in a crossed pattern, feeding a Scarlett Focusrite 212i audio interface. This seems to produce the best audio quality with minimal weirdness, but yes, the stereo thing can be a bit odd. It's much worse with mics at either end of the instruments- the ping pong effect is disturbing. The crossed mics reduce that effect, but it's not perfect. For really good recordings I use two KSM137 condenser mics, and back away from the instrument a bit, which seems to improve things, but they're expensive mics, and we have a toddler in the vicinity. The SM57s are dynamic mics and need to be close.
  14. Two more sprightly old English tunes, played on a 30 button Jeffries G/D Anglo.
  15. Playing with one of my favorite partners in musical crime. We did many Morris gigs together - Anglo concertina and nyckleharpa.
  16. That's just gorgeous. Thanks for posting.
  17. Like so many others, I'm blown away by the playing of Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne , so of course I bought the Granny's Attic tunebook, and quickly learned this old English tune, "Odd Thoughts." Cohen plays it in Dm; I did it in Em because the chording seems to work better with a mere 30 buttons. Played on a Jeffries G/D concertina. https://soundcloud.com/concertinist/odd-thoughts-oct6
  18. Periodically I get to play with a friend who is an outstanding nyckleharpa player. The combination of Anglo and nyckleharpa can be sublime.
  19. They did a great job, a testament to your teaching skills.
  20. When you get to customs/immigration in the UK carrying a visible concertina case, expect questions about your plans. They will be particular interested in finding out if you have a paying gig, which would be a no-no without a work visa. It's always complicated for me, since we go to perform (Morris), but not for money. Some officials don't really understand the difference. It's not a big deal, but it's best to be prepared. It's worse going into Canada; I've had some real problems with that.
  21. We used to wear felt bowlers, but I never found one to fit my outsized head and received an official exemption. Looking forward to seeing everybody!
  22. Good news! I keep trying to convince Robin to come, but so far without success.
  23. Bummed that RA won't be there. We were planning a Welsh tunes session. Always happy to celebrate felt hat day.
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