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Jim Besser

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Everything posted by Jim Besser

  1. >Alas, I will not. In fact, I had dinner tonight with two > members of New World Sword (Bob and Ellie), but > the team is inactive these days. Too bad. We (Bluemont) are just barely going; injuries have been a problem. >Meanwhile, Jim B, why don't you come to the Northeast Squeeze-In? I may. I was there a few years back -- the 10th anniversary, I think-- but MOrris season has interfered with it since then.
  2. So how many Concertina.Netters will be at this year's Toronto Ale? All things being equal, I'll be there.
  3. > have found the same as you - when printing, it wil >l do two or three lines then freeze so I have to have > two or three attempts, then it works fine. The problem appears to be printer specific. I didn't have the problem with my last printer, but have it consistently with the new laser -- which works fine with every other program. ABC2win is incredibly frustrating, but there aren't many alternatives.
  4. > I haven't cried in a while, Crying might be a good response. Sorry to say, I find abc2win less than stable on XP -- less stable than on previous Windows versions. There hasn't been an update for years. You can try deleting the INI file and letting it rebuild itself, or do a clean install. Those solutions have sometimes helped me. But it's a weird program. It apparently doesn't like my current printer driver and misfires 50 percent of the time when printing. I think little errors are present in many of the ABC files downloaded from Web sources, and they cause some of the flaky behavior. Unless you're a real ABC expert, it's hard to troubleshoot those. Wish I could be more encouraging. I use the program all the time and have hundreds of tunes stored in ABC files, but curse almost every time I load it up. Alas, there are not a lot of viable alternatives.
  5. A most excellent polka; many thanks!
  6. Plain Capers, as noted previously. Grand Picnic: interesting contra dance band with a great concertina (Jody Kruskal) Round Pond Relics: LP only, Tom Kruskal on Anglo, Jim Morrison on fiddle. Also "Over the Water," a CD with the same players. Heavily Morris, but with interesting other things. Wild Asparagus: contra dance band with English concertina. JOhn Williams "Steam." My favorite Irish concertina CD. Noel Hill: anything by. Jacqueline McCarthy "The Hidden Note." This CD is really growing on me. Old Sod Band: contra dance band with great English.
  7. Making this discussion more complex still is what happens to vintage instruments AFTER manufacture. I'd venture to say that a Dipper-Groff rebuilt Lachenal is a very different instrument than the original (and, to my mind, worthy of being ranked with the giants). And, as others have pointed out, variations within a brand are incredible. I've only tried 2 Jeffries -- one spectacular, one really mediocre. I've tried two 50-s vintage Wheatstones, of much maligned reputation. One deserved that reputation, one was pretty darned good. This discussion does point to one thing, I believe: the advantages of purchasing from a reliable dealer who can tell you exactly what you're getting. You can't get that when you buy a car, but fortunately, you can when buying a concertina: ie Paul groff, Chris Alger, the button box.
  8. Sorry you're sick. It was a great dance and a great open band, with 2 concertinas among the 25 or so instruments. The next open band is June 11. If you're around, come up and introduce yourself!
  9. So come on out tonight and help expand the free reed section as the Open Band plays for the Washington Folk Festival dance! Help me not be the only concertina player in the throng.
  10. Although not an accordionist, I show solidarity by sporting this bumper sticker on my car: Pro Accordion -- And I Vote!
  11. It is... and so's Kohler's Hornpipe. But I don't either like or dislike things just because they're labelled "traditional" by someone... even myself. Nor do I care. People spend far too much time worrying about purity.
  12. Regarding the tune we were discussing a while back: I was listening to the great John Williams Irish concertina/box CD, and tune 3 on track 13 kept nagging at me; it sounded familiar, but I couldn't identify it. The CD identified it as "PJ'ss Pecurious Pachelbel Special." Ah ha: it's Kohler's Hornpipe, moved to D major and played unbelievably fast on the button accordion. Searched The Session, and read all kinds of controversy about the tune: purists regard it as a sacreligious pandering to audience preferences, thoroughly non-traditional. But it's listed as a traditional tune on non-Irish sites under the Kohler's name. Making matters more interesting: apparently Natalie MacMaster plays a Cape Breton version of the same tune with a different name. Isn't traditional music incredible?
  13. Wow. Two Jeffries on Ebay at the same time. Check out the duet: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...3727724528&rd=1 I'd better go out and buy some lottery tickets!
  14. >So its not Washington, County Durham? We should be so lucky.
  15. > But my morris team has our final tour that weekend, Morris commitments come first. My side, Bluemont, hoped to dance at the Wash festival, but too many dancers are injured, and our season was mostly canceled. Hoping enough recover so we can go to Toronto. The Washington folk festival is great, but in the past there haven't been many opportunities to actually PLAY. But that may change this year, since the Open Band is playing the big dance that night and there will be loads of us wandering around with instruments and looking to get into trouble.
  16. Has anyone seen notation for the version of this tune played by Jacqueline McCarthy on "The Hidden Note?" The B part differs significantly from the versions I've found on the Web. I learned it from her CD, but would like to pass the music on to some friends so we can play this lovely tune.
  17. The Washington Folk Festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday, June 5-6. I'll be there all day Saturday, and was wondering if any fellow squeezers would be attending. We could get together on the grass and make some noise. Jim L and others with legitimate geographical excuses will be forgiven for not attending.
  18. >Sorry. No extra beat. Not anywhere You're right; I looked at some music. Is the pattern always the same in a hambo?
  19. Boy oh boy, this thread has led to some serious confusion. No, contra dance music isn't similar to Zydeco music, which is a modern form of Cajun music blended with urban blues. If you're an Irish trad player, you'll recognize many of the tunes used for contra dances, tho you might disapprove of the liberties taken with them. Also plenty of Scottish, traditional Appalachian, and modern tunes. But then again, some French Canadian tunes popular at contra dances could be easily mistaken for Cajun tunes I"m not an expert on the other dances, but I've played plenty of hambos (3/4 time, with an extra beat somewhere) and Zwiefachers, which are 3/4 and 2/4, alternating every few (two?) measures. If you're interested, there's a wonderful book called "A Little Couple Dancemusik" by Peter Barnes that contains hundreds of these musical oddities, many of which are great fun on the Anglo.
  20. Yes, nothing like Glen Echo for dancers and musicians. For those who don't know what we're talking about: this is an old amusement park outside Washington that was closed and turned over to the Park Service as a national park for the arts. But it's always been starved for funds. It has a gorgeous 1920s vintage ballroom in a Spanish motif....for years, falling down, leaky, but completely restored to its original glory last year. They replicated the original decor and preserved the perfect, flexible wooden dance floor. It's a genuine honor playing in such a venue. And as Daniel said, it's amazing seeing so many dancers -- up to 400, I think --going at it. The infamous Open Band plays for the contra on the second friday of every month. If any c-netters are in the area, you should join us. We have a pretty good free reed section most months, although concertinas are in short supply.
  21. >Do you have a caller, or is the dance announced and off you go Callers are the norm. Sometimes, a caller will announce an old chestnut that eveybody knows (Petronella, for example) and people dance it without instruction. >When you say swing dancers Jim ,are you refering to 30s 40s > swing, a big revival here, or something else? Yes, exactly. Big revival here, too. You're right about potential injuries from too-athletic dancing.
  22. Rhomylly's description is good. I'd add several things. There's a little crossover with traditional American square dancing. At a typical contra dance, they'll also do traditional squares and circles. The music is almost always a mix. Some traditional Irish, Scottish, American, English, lots of French Canadian, and now many new tunes that have become standard on the contra dance circuit. When I learned to contra dance 25 years ago (ineptly, I should add, although I still try), it was more sedate, and the music was more traditional; form was important in the dancing, and the music was largely limited to the tunes used for generations in New England (you almost never went to a dance and didn't hear Chorus Jig or Coleraine or Opera Reel).. Today, an influx of young, swing-oriented dancers has changed both. That's evident at the Glen Echo weekly dance in Maryland -- 200 plus dancers every week, with many under 25, many dancing in an energetic and free-form style that New England traditionalists would hardly recognize. Wild swinging, clogging, leaping, etc. Obviously not much like French Bourree dancing. The music has changed, too. Many more recently written tunes and swing-tinged tunes. Guitar players who don't know jazz chords are in real trouble. More jig-to-reel sets, which seem to encourage hyper-energetic dancing. I don't know about other venues, but here, people play waltzes, schottisches, hambos, zwiefachers, etc. during break and after the dance, which could account for the other dancing you've seen. I like playing some of the new stuff, but prefer the more stately traditional dancing (but maybe that's because I'm an old guy and can't keep up).
  23. Good ear! The piano was definately out of tune, and it was a "wall of sound," as you said, but it's great to play with wonderful musicians really cutting loose. Young whippersnappers, they were. Young enough to be my children. A sharp contrast to your much more more traditional, disciplined session, but great fun in its own chaotic way. I just got the second CD from that session, by the way, which includes a rousing version of the Monty Python theme, some originals by the accordion player and some traditional tunes played in highly untraditional ways. Which tunes are you learning from the CD?
  24. This has been a favorite of mine for years. Wonderful, fluid jig. You can hear a very nice recording of it (aside from your's, which is very nice, too) on a CD by the New England group Amarillis.
  25. Paul Groff wrote: > a concertina will often sound MUCH quieter to the player > than to those adjacent to him or her This is a useful thread because there is great danger in having a very loud concertina. I know this from hard experience. Playing in a large open band, I very often can't hear my instrument at all, even though I am playing robustly -- but an experiment in recording the band revealed that it is quite audible to others -- as are my mistakes. So in a session, it's not safe to assume that just because you can't hear it well, others can't either. Learning to adjust to different settings, with different levels of sound and different acoustic properties, seems to me to be a critical part of our concertina educations. And learning to play when there are a half-dozen fiddles screeching, banjos jangling and a wall of noise coming from the stage monitors.
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