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Jim Besser

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Posts posted by Jim Besser

  1. I dislike doing videos because of uncontrollable concertina face, but recently had to do a couple for a project; this is the leftover. An odd pairing, but I like it.
    The first tune, "Ghosts," written by the free jazz saxaphonist Albert Ayler in the 1960s, came to me thru the superb playing of melodeon guru Martin Ellison.
    The second tune is "Lord Zouch's Masque." Here's what the Traditional Tune Archive has to say about it: "First published in Morley's First Book of Consort Lessons (1599), and appearing in several (twenty) 16th and 17th century manuscript collections.. It was known in the Netherlands as "Onder de Linde Groene" (Under the Green Linden Tree), published in 1649 in a volume called Der Fluyten Lust-Hof."
    So: avante garde jazz from the 60s and an English tune from 1600 or so.  I'm always intrigued by such pairings.
    • Like 3
  2. 7 minutes ago, David Barnert said:


    Did it find its way to YouTube?


    Nope. It was filmed by West Virginia public TV at the historic Wayside Inn in Middletown, Va; I was playing with a civil war dance band, but for some reason they hired us to do this non-dance event. We played "Bleak Winter' as a kind of processional tune.  They sent us DVDs or CDs of the show, but mine got lost a long time ago.

  3. 16 hours ago, gcoover said:

    s, or adding lower notes that also gain more air.


    "In the Bleak Midwinter" can sound absolutely beautiful on the Anglo. Here's an arrangement with full accompaniment that you should be able to play through without ever touching the air button. I've also attached the sheet music with tablature.




    Nice one, Gary.  I worked out an almost identical arrangement years ago for a public TV holiday special, and still like to play it. The Anglo works very well for this kind of tune.  (But for the filming, I had to wear a silly and embarrassing costume).


  4. 1 hour ago, Julia M F said:

    I've been thinking of investing in an instumental upgrade. I play Anglo Concertina.  I see most of the better/pricier instruments have metal filigree over the ends. Does anyone have experience playing outside in cold weather with such an instrument?  


    I'm not sure there's any real difference between how wood and metal ended instruments react to cold. I've played both in very cold weather with no problems.  

  5. 1 hour ago, arkwright said:

    Nowadays we order so much stuff on line that we always have lots of bubblewrap and styrofoam arriving almost daily.  Accumulate a bunch of that.  Then use bubble wrap to fill the space between the concertina and the inside of the case.  This is so the concertina won't bounce around inside the case.   Then get a corrugated cardboard box slightly larger than the case, and stuff styrofoam or bubble wrap to fill the space between the case and the inside of the box.  Then get another slightly larger corrugated cardboard box and repeat.  Use duct tape as described by others.   I think how you pack it is more important than who ships it .  I have shipped safely using United Parcel Service in the United States, it was about $42.  I would also trust the USPS.  Get a tracking number.


    I do all that,  except for the double boxes. The concertinas always go in custom fitted hard cases.  Recently we bought a large flat panel TV, and in the shipping box, the corners of the unit were protected by wedges of a dense but very shock absorbent variety of foam; I adapted those to position my case in the shipping box, on top of layers of plastic peanuts.


    For tape, I use the commercial paper tape with fiberglass reinforcing - the kind you have to wet before applying. That's required for USPS registered, which I still think is the safest - if not fastest - way to ship high value instruments. And unlike UPS, they insured the full value of my Jeffries (but I'm sure collecting on that insurance, should the need arise, would not be a simple matter).


    And yes, in these pandemic times we are inundated with packing materials.

  6. A few years ago I became enamored of the music of Kerry Mills, the Tin Pan Alley composer remembered most for "Meet Me in St. Louis" and a tune often misidentified as traditional, "Redwing." I've been slowly adapting his tunes, written for piano, for Anglo concertina. My latest: "The Fascinating Ragtime Glide," a piano two-step written in 1910. The C part is still causing me grief, which is probably why I dropped a couple of beats, but it's coming along.


    Played on a Morse 30 button GD Anglo.




  7. 9 hours ago, d.elliott said:

    Use a spike to form the pilot for a new hole adjacent to the old spring anchorage point no harm will be done and you will be up and running again. That is what a professional would do. Short of digging out


    A 'get you away' remedy whilst waiting to replace a spring is a small piece of kitchen sponge pushed between the pivot post and the key, cut thick enough to hold the lever arm up and thus the pad in place.


    Thanks, Dave.  I thought about doing that, but given the age of the instrument and my own lack of skill, I decided to let a pro do it.

  8. This has been discussed before, but the answer is always changing as the parcel delivery industry changes.


    What's the best/safest mode for shipping high value concertinas - in the US, to US destinations?


    Years ago, Paul Groff argued that the safest way was the US postal service registered/insured mail - the service that required every edge of the box to be taped; the postal employees then stamped along all the edges. 


    But I don't know if that's still the safest.  I don't mind paying for a high level of security.  Suggestions?

  9. During a robust session today, one button on my Jeffries Anglo decided to play games with me.


    The notes are sounding continuously; the button is fully depressed, but when I pull it up, it just sits there limply, and the 2 notes continue to sound without any pressure on the button.


    I'm guessing a broken spring, but would welcome any suggestions before I open it up.  If it's a spring: any suggestions on how to put on a new one? I do have spares, but have never performed this particular surgery.


    Or is there another likely cause?

  10. Glad the instruments are safe!  After a plumbing leak took down part of my music room ceiling and narrowly missed the instrument shelf, I switched to all-waterproof Pelican cases for at-home storage. I still use the Flipside backback when out at Morris, ceilidh or contra gigs, but at home, protection from flood disasters is the top priority.  (The music room is directly under the kitchen, with all its potential for leaks).

  11. 16 hours ago, Jody Kruskal said:

    Tumbling tubes in Brooklyn, a musical walking meditation. Best to listen using large speakers or headphones to hear the low tones. The Gravity Pipes is a parade of chance events that results in unpredictable melodic phrases, all in a low register. Large diameter PVC tubes as long as 11 feet, rise up to the sky and dramatically fall, bouncing to create deep and satisfying resonances.


    Play along on your box in G.





    Very cool.



  12. 5 hours ago, Jake Middleton-Metcalfe said:

    very very rare and amazing. Never seen one. Brilliant. I would love to play such a thing. 


    I did play it, thanks to Doug, and is a gem.  I have a Morse hybrid CG Anglo, and it's terrific, but not in a class with this Wheatstone.  I was seriously thinking about sneaking into Doug's room at the Squeeze In and making off with it.

    • Like 1
  13. 53 minutes ago, David Barnert said:


    I love G major. Some of my favorite tunes are in G major. I also love vanilla ice cream. And if I know I’m having vanilla ice cream for dessert, I would hope there’s something else on the menu for my main course.




    Good line, David.


  14. 36 minutes ago, David Barnert said:


    It would be refreshing to get out of G major, though.

    Great tune, BTW, Jim. I’d never met it. We should play it at NESI if not online before.


    What, you don't like The Peoples Key?


    Actually, it works fine for me in D or C, maybe A, but I did it in G cuz that's what Andy Turner did, and I was much taken with his version.  Which is to say I started out by copying it.

  15. 19 hours ago, Jody Kruskal said:

    I got quite a few responses in messages and thank you all for your help. After considering a new Wolverton or Morse, and several Jefferies 38 button instruments that I lust after... I have decided on a used Edgley 30 button hybrid from a friend. The Jefferies instruments would have been nice, but they just cost too much considering the limited use for this odd key.


    Now that I have had a chance to play my Ab/Eb Edgley I'm glad I got it. So much fun to play with my Pakistani friends who favor the flat keys for their raags.


    What is it about flat key Anglos that makes them sound so cool? I love the sound of a good Bf/F, but can't justify buying one. Hope you do a recording with your new Edgley.

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