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Roger Digby

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Everything posted by Roger Digby

  1. I was listening to Mary Ellen playing only yesterday on a compilation CD. Last year I went with Shay and Mark when they visited Mary Ellen and we had some tunes together. She was a conscientious hostess and looked after us royally. In fact, Shay said it was important to announce your visit only half an hour before you arrived as otherwise she would start baking and making special arrangements. One of the things we discussed in Miltown this year was the difference between the old style of playing and the more technically complicated approach favoured by many younger players - and teachers. It was a great pleasure, in fact a privilege, on that afternoon last year to spend some time with one of the old stylists.
  2. Tune 2 is an untitled 3 part Polka from Scan Tester. It's a great favourite of Will Duke, but that doesn't sound like him playing it. Will generally has a lighter touch. Dooley Chapman played the first two parts and he didn't have a name for it either. I'm pretty sure the Cameron Brothers had it as well. I think you'll find it on line in the appendix to the Lewes Arms tune book. Can't help with the other two! Best wishes, Roger
  3. Dirge, I've emailed you my telephone numbers. Don't worry about the 'Sold Out' notice. I've reserved you a day ticket. We have a programme of talks and sessions, but spontaneous things will simply 'happen'. Look forward to meeting you. Best wishes, Roger
  4. This room in Ye Olde Swan has been snapped up; sorry not to be seeing Irene, but we have a happy couple of reluctant campers who are pleased to have had a last minute opportunity of a comfortable room! I should add that the event is now completely sold out. But...... If you want to come to the concertina event ONLY, send me an email, promise me a pint and I'll smuggle you in under a tent flap! Mike Hebbert is hosting the event and among those who've expressed an intention to be there are Geoff Crabb, Keith Kendrick, Chas Marshall, Mark Davies, Gavin Atkin, Alan Day..... We may even see LDT if she's recovered from her baptism of fire as my barmaid on Friday night! Best wishes. Roger
  5. Steady On Mr Timson! Have a care Sir! 'Informal' certainly, 'charming' definitely, but 'loosely organised'..!! It's as tight as a drum; no 'I' undotted or 'T' uncrossed, no pub untested, everything coordinated and timed to the second after months of careful planning.......... Pea-shooters at dawn on Saturday morning, just before we stagger to our cots! Looking forward to seeing you both. Best wishes, Roger
  6. Day tickets are available for the Saturday. It helps us if they're booked in advance using the booking-form on the website, but concertina-carrying, bona fide, long-distance travelers are welcome to drop in unannounced!
  7. The last pirates seen off Brightlingsea were radio stations in the late 60s. long before you were born!! Smugglers ? Yes!
  8. Sorry! I left a 'w' out! Should be www.ecmwbrightlingsea.com Many thanks for pointing it out, Paul. If I'm clever enough I'll try to get in and correct it! Best wishes, Roger
  9. I’ve received an email from Geoff Crabb expressing his intention of dropping in to Brightlingsea on the Saturday afternoon. This was the spur I needed to add a special concertina event to the programme. This will take place in the Beer Tent between 2.00 - 3.45 p.m. and will be led by Michael Hebbert and his Jeffries Duet. In addition to concertina music, there’ll be concertina conversation with Geoff bringing his knowledge, anecdotes and screwdriver. Experienced Anglo players whom I know are attending the weekend include Mark Davies, Chas Marshall, and Keith Kendrick whom I expect to be in proud possession of his two brand spanking new, custom-built 40 key Anglos. Gavin Atkin is also attending, so we have the very rare prospect of two Jeffries duets in the same place! Another highlight of the weekend will be our own LDT making her international debut as a barmaid on the Friday evening! I expect she’s already selecting an appropriate hat! Tickets are selling well, but there are still some available. Visit our website, www.ecmwbrightlingsea.com and follow the link. Best wishes, Roger
  10. I am very pleased to announce that the District Council has approved my License Application so the Campsite will have its very own Beer Tent with me as the licensee!! With Essex having more breweries than any other county in the country this is going to require me to do some exhaustive research!! Tickets are selling steadily. Best wishes, Roger
  11. You won't be alone in the Premier, Mike! There's also The Old Courthouse in Bromley just over 5 miles away (http://www.theoldcourthouseinn.co.uk/). They have 10 double rooms and offer a 'weekend special'. Some people are opting for the picturesque location of Wivenhoe. I'm pleased to report that tickets are selling well. Concertina enthusiasts seizing the rare opportunity to spend time with Mike Hebbert are in for a special treat. There's currently a sound clip of Scan Tester (with Reg Hall and Bob Keightley) on the website! Best wishes, Roger
  12. A number of members of this website are occasional or regular attenders at the ECMW. Tickets are now on sale for this year's event which has a number of 'firsts'. It's the first time the weekend has come to the county of Essex, the first time we've been on the coast and the first time the event has its own website: www.ecmwbrightlingsea.com. The website will be regularly updated and there are some interesting music files already there with more waiting in the wings, all of them unissued and including lots of Scan Tester! We are confident that this is going to be an excellent weekend; hope to see some of you there! Best wishes Roger
  13. Paul Davies' 'street box' is still exactly as he left it! High pitch, uneven - if slightly tweaked - and sounding magnificent. It leads a quiet life and doesn't go out much because of the high pitch, but only yesterday I was trying it out for a dance workshop that Liz Giddings is leading in a couple of weeks and where I'll be the only musician. At present I'm leaning towards using Paul's other high pitch, uneven instrument in G/D, which I've no doubt, Steve, you also remember and which, like the 'street box' will never be retuned while I own it.
  14. A Very Happy Christmas to you all. Those of you who knew Paul Davies may be interested in this picture. Paul met his wife, Turid, when he was busking in Norway. Turid found a Christmas card there a few years ago and sent it to me. She's convinced the artist had seen Paul busking! Best wishes, Roger
  15. At the risk of being really pedantic...Paul Burgess joined Old Swan in 1979. That must have been around the time that Mel's short stay with them came to an end.
  16. Mel played Anglo. 'English' in the original post probably refers to the style of music he played, or even his nationality - an easy confusion. He sang as well; I recall a very strong performance of 'Grace Darling'. He is still remembered with a lot of affection and I'm sure that people who knew him better than I did will be happy to contribute their memories once word gets out that Olly is interested. Katie Howson had the Anglo for a while; I'm not sure where it is now. Best wishes, Roger
  17. A while ago I asked a leather worker and antique restorer, Peter Ward, who has a workshop here in the village, if he’d have a go at rebuilding a battered old Jeffries Jug case. I put ‘before and after’ photos in the ICA newsletter. Since then he has restored other jugs for Mike Acott and also repaired rectangular Wheatstone cases. He recently made a new jug case from scratch and I attach some pictures. It is a very good replica, slightly larger than the originals because the sides are lined with padded panels, but these are ‘extras’ and a case could be made in original size without these additions. He is also able to produce a jug which is strengthened with steel reinforcement and should be proof against the most careless Roadie. I’ll bring the prototype along to the EATMT Trad Music Day in Stowmarket at the beginning of September so anybody there will be able to see what a good piece of work it is. Peter’s prices are £395.00 for a basic jug, £450.00 for the slightly larger padded jug and £475.00 for the steel lined option. You can reach Peter via email at rpeter.ward@virgin.net If you mention concertina.net when ordering a contribution will be made to this website. Best Wishes, Roger
  18. I hope I may be forgiven for writing a 'plug' for this weekend, but it is one of my favourite annual events (The others are ECMW and The EATMT Trad Music Day). It is definitely NOT a Folk Festival - no crowds, no big names, no 'legends in their own -- opinion'. Most of the people who attend have an honest approach to the music and treat it with respect. There are always some interesting local traditional singers and some from further afield, and the event has become a bit of an unofficial meeting place for concertina players. The organisation covers the full spectrum from 'relaxed' to 'non-existent' so a lot happens spontaneously (last year Chas Marshall and I had a brief session in Bflat! It was meant to be just the two of us, but it grew!) In fact there is an expectation that people will organise themselves. If the weather is good then the area is breath-takingly beautiful; of course, if it rains.....there are some good pubs and some excellent local micro-breweries. If you're in two minds about going, I urge you to try it out - not least for the concertina interest. I know duet players Ralph Jordan, Gavin Atkin, Geoff Crabb and Jon Boden will be there because they form the panel for my concertina discussion this year. To misquote the great Bob, 'If you see me say 'Hello''. Best wishes, Roger
  19. Hi Malcolm, How are you? I hope the English successes in the first ODIs aren't making life too uncomfortable for you in your adopted home!! Do you ever visit the UK? The Edeophone was bought by a friend of mine and I shall be meeting them both later this week. In the meantime I can only say that it was correctly identified as an Anglo. Apparently it needs a little work. I may be able to add more later, if I can't persuade the new owner to speak for himself. Best wishes, Roger
  20. Dick, This conversation is getting a bit disparate! To answer your two questions in the briefest terms: Geoff Crabb has said that you count the air button (he calls it the 'wind key') on a Duet but not an Anglo. (Where did this convention arise?). There's no charge for B&B but you play for your supper! Best wishes, Roger
  21. Hi Dick, 32 keys on the receipt so he was counting the air-button. Steve says it tuned in beautifully and it certainly sounds that way. I think it was originally Aflat/Eflat; it was certainly not in concert pitch and in Steve's words 'all over the place'. (Quite restrained for him!) He replaced one reed; the extreme right hand button at the top of the inside row where you'd expect D/D# had the D an octave lower and Steve didn't think he could retune through such a distance without losing quality. I've been plying A exactly as you describe with exactly the same precedent - having to play in D when I only had a C/G (nearly 40 years ago!). On an A/E that gives me B major! Now that could get me thrown out of a few sessions! I don't do Youtube! You'll have to come and spend a few days here in Essex! Best wishes, Roger
  22. I've owned an Aflat/Eflat (old pitch) 30b Jeff. Bros for some time. (I also have the receipt! £12.00 in 1920). I didn't play it very much because of the anti-social pitch - and the tuning was pretty rough. As I now play a lot with Liz Giddings, fiddle player, and she likes to play in A, I decided a couple of weeks ago that it should go into A/E concert pitch. I took it to Steve Dickinson last week and yesterday I picked up the finished article. With Steve's skillful dedication and craftsmanship it has become a different instrument and I think I am going to be obsessed with it for a good while! I'll bring it to Bradfield, but I don't think the ECMW is ready for A/E this weekend!! Best wishes, Roger
  23. See you there! verb.sap.: Katie's Quartet is leading the Saturday evening session and will be playing in C.(the Suffolk key!) Roger
  24. Interesting to see another receipt. It doesn't differ in any significant way from my Jeffries Brothers one of Oct. 1920; in fact the printed section is identical. The main difference is that mine has the signature and the 'received with thanks' written across a one penny postage stamp. I wonder if this indicates export. I remember when records imported from America had to have a stamp stuck to the label to indicate that import duty had been paid. This carried on into the 1960s. The original post mentioned value and nobody has yet taken the can-opener to this one yet so I'll jump in without any fear of being trampled by a rush of Angels. Tommy Williams said he'd never seen a bad Jeffries, but Steve Dickinson wouldn't agree. Personally, whilst acknowledging a range of quality, my view is that they are never less than good/very good. They seldom have the softer end of the dynamic range that a Wheatstone can often offer, but the brightness and attack - and, yes, sheer volume - are what make them famous. Alex West, who might fill in details if he reads this, emailed me last week about two vary battered instruments that went in auction last week for an awful lot of money. One was so out of tune the auction house couldn't work out the home key! I have also recently heard of two 30 button ends (no bellows) in poor condition that changed hands for £5000. I'd guess rebuilding will bring the cost up to £7000 with no indication at all of how it will eventually sound. I've also heard anecdotes of 30 key Anglos - not just Jeffries - going for more than that in Ireland. You can argue that these prices are excessive and probably throw in a few other choice adjectives as well, but you can't change the fact that they are market-driven and that people are paying them, with Jeffries Anglos seemingly leading the steady and steep increase. Judging by the very brief description given in the original post, I would suggest that this instrument will change hands at £7000. Personally I'd rather the owner knows this than risk him selling it more cheaply to someone who'll turn it over for a quick profit. Of course learning to play it himself is the best advice, but that's been said already. Best wishes, Roger
  25. Does Milwaukee Ave. have some special significance either musically or ethnically? The case of my Chemnitzer (kindly given to me by Mark Davies at Bradfield this year) originates from 769 Milwaukee Ave. Best wishes, Roger
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