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Roger Digby

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Everything posted by Roger Digby

  1. Some of you obviously have never been driven by Steve!! Even when he's fully fit St Christopher uses two seat-belts. Seriously Steve; get well soon mate. I was out with a bad leg and crutches a few years ago and it really isn't a joke. Mind you as a chronic gout sufferer I'm used to my infirmities being laughed at. Ailments seem to bring out the wicked side in our senses of humour. Roger
  2. The Papers of the International Concertina Association (PICA) No.2 is taking shape and the deadline is fast approaching for review items. I am posting this final reminder: If you have a CD, or other publication relating to the concertina, which you wish considered for review in PICA 2 please send it to me, Roger Digby, at Hoppits, Rams Farm Rd., Fordham, Essex, CO6 3HR, UK. I hope I am not jumping the gun if I add that the electronic version of PICA 1 is in the final stages of realisation and consultation and should be freely available soon.
  3. I know that many concertina.net users enjoy Irish Music so I hope the absence of a concertina in this news item will not cause offence. A 30 minute programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning was a nostalgic look back at the Favourite, a pub in North London that hosted the most celebrated of all Irish Music during its heyday in the latter decades of the last century. (It was the base for Topic's 'Paddy In the Smoke' L.P.) The programme is currently on the BBC Radio 4 website and I have found a couple of minutes at lunch today to have a quick listen to a little of it. Like so much on the BBC it fails to go deep in the fear of losing the 'casual listener', but it might tug a heartstring of those who knew the pub and interest those who care for the real Irish Music. As you'ld expect, Reg Hall, the tireless researcher of Irish Music in London, ( and much else besides) has a bit to say! I don't imagine it will be available online for very long. Best wishes, Roger
  4. Patrick, I still work in Central London (about a mile from Bloomsbury) though I now commute. If you would like an Anglo-playing ‘Day in the Country’ let me know. RDigby@hoppits.demon.co.uk Best wishes. Roger Digby
  5. Ava, I still work in Central London though I now commute. If you would like an Anglo-playing ‘Day in the Country’ let me know. RDigby@hoppits.demon.co.uk Best wishes. Roger Digby
  6. Kurt Braun has just alerted to me to this query and thinks that our 4 part article which began in the latest ICA publication addresses a lot of the issues. It does, but this is a huge area which can hardly be dealt with in the kind of snippets that occur in forums like this. If you would really like to go into detailed discussion feel free to contact me personally. I shall be away for the next two weeks at the Sidmouth and Dartmoor festivals, but after that I have some holiday left and can engage in discussion. A very valuable article could be written on this topic. Best wishes, Roger Digby
  7. One of the nice things about week-long festivals is the chance to take time out from the music and meet friends. There are usually many concertina players at Sidmouth but they don't always find each other. John Wild (ICA Treasurer) and I are taking the opportunity to meet for a pint in The Dove at 12 o'clock on Sunday morning. This leaves time for us to move on to lunchtime sessions if we wish. If you are reading this and would like to join us you will be very welcome. Best wishes Roger Digby
  8. I have just found a reference in Peter Hoeg's (my font doesn't allow me to put the / through the 'o' in his name) 'Miss Smilla's feeling for snow'. The Captain is being over-nostalgic about the different conditions that prevailed at sea only a few years previously and Miss Smilla, to deflate him, asks 'Did they have clogging and concertinas too?' Clearly 'clogging and concertinas' conveys a feeling of mawkish sentimentality, a little bit like the use by Dylan Thomas that I cited earlier in this thread. I am close to the end of the book and have not yet found the word 'mallemaroking', reputedly the least used word in the English language! Surely, if was ever to be used, it would be in this ice-bound novel. Incidentally, I thought 'Accordian Crimes' was a great read, though I know my friend (and meldeon player) Dan Quinn gave up on it.
  9. I thought it was because we white-washed New Zealand at cricket. Another illusion shattered.
  10. After reading my way through this most eccentric of threads I am tempted to add two equally irrelevant comments: Many, many years ago (late 70s) my band (Flowers and Frolics) were approached by the A & R man at Polydor and asked if we would cover a single called 'The Dutchman' which was enjoying some chart success in the USA. Mike Bettison and I went to meet him and hear the original record. The first line was - and it was so unforgettable I'm convinced my memory is pretty sound even at this distance - 'A Dutchman doesn't stand there with his finger in the dyke'. I don't know if it got worse or better after that. Needless to say we turned down the recording offer. More venerable, and apropos the different names used in UK and USA, you can't improve on Bernard Shaw's comment that the UK and USA are 'two countries divided by a common language'. On the original subject of Jeffries prices they are market driven and I have recently watched two basic boxes in need of work go at auction at what I would call silly prices. By the time they have been restored and marked up there is no way they will emerge at less than £4000. In both cases the instruments were bought unseen by phone bidders so these dealers must be banking on getting that sort of price, whatever the quality of the instrument. Tommy Williams said he had never seen a bad Jeffries, but there is nevertheless a range between 'good' and 'excellent' and it seems this is not observed in a maker whose name alone guarantees top money. Jeffries suit me 100%. I love them with a passion and get enormous pleasure even after years and years and years of playing. Whenever I see one being played I always go and ask if I may look at it and there is always something exciting about playing another one even for a few seconds. Best wishes Roger
  11. I'll be there. I look forward to seeing you. Roger
  12. This is one of a set of LPs that resulted from field trips to Ireland by John Tamms and Neil Wayne and were released jointly by Free Reed/Topic. They are all worth having. Neil was talking about rereleasing them but I don't think there's been any progress towards this. I wonder if the CD referred to above is a 'bootleg'. Perhaps if Neil received a lot of emails asking about these albums he might be encouraged by the potential market and get them back on sale! Rereleasing is a fairly straightforward process. Meantime, snap up any that you can on vinyl.
  13. My wife was, yesterday, enjoying Stephen Leacock’s ‘Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town’ (1912). She was particularly delighted by the opening paragraphs of Sketch 9, ‘The Mariposa Bank Mystery’. “Suicide is a thing that ought not to be committed without very careful thought. It often involves serious consequences,and in some cases brings pain to others than oneself. I don’t say that there is no justification for it. There often is. Anybody who has listened to certain kinds of music, or read certain kinds of poetry, or heard certain kinds of performances upon the concertina, will admit that there are some lives that ought not to be continued, and that even suicide has its brighter aspects.” As Leacock left England at the age of 6 or 7 I absolve all of us on our UK side of the Atlantic for creating this attitude!!! Of course Leacock was at McGill. How long has your family been in Montreal, Paul?
  14. Those seeking to know more about Bob Copper and the enormous importance of his family in traditional song over the last 100+ years should start at their website www.thecopperfamily.com Best wishes Roger
  15. If the instrument was stolen in the UK and presumably by someone with no knowledge, the likelihood is that, after a few changes of hands, it may surface in the big West End showrooms. When Patrick Blakeney-Edwards had Andrew's former boxes stolen from the boot of his car this is precisely what happened a few months later. Being Jeffries they had no serial numbers but Steve Chambers was able to identify them, get them withdrawn from sale and, after police formalities, returned to Patrick. The vendor claimed to have bought them in a street market for £80 (I think). Obviously he had to stand the loss. I would certainly recommend sending a description and serial number to Sotheby's, etc. I would add that when I was working a lot not even the MU could find me an insurance company that would ensure my instruments in an unattended vehicle, so even for a ten minute motorway stop I had to unload them and take them to the loo! Best wishes for a happy outcome. Roger
  16. Someone (Louis Killen, I think) plays a couple of bars of a hornpipe (??Redesdale) on Simon and Garfunkle's 'Bookends' LP!! Good luck with the interview. Roger
  17. As the first issue of PICA thunders triumphantly towards the presses I have one disappointment. I think this annual publication, accumulating year by year in its on-line format, is an ideal place to maintain a list of concertina recordings from this and subsequent years. Entries need be no more than Title, Artist, and concertina system. For this to work, those involved in creating these recordings need to send PICA the details. An earlier request for this information received no responses! If you have played on a recording in the last 18 months please send me the details - RDigby@hoppits.demon.co.uk PICA would really appreciate this effort to create a valuable source of information. All submissions for review in PICA 2 should also be sent to me at my earthbound address R Digby, Hoppits, Rams Farm Rd. Fordham. Colchester. CO6 3HR. Essex. UK. These submissions will eventually reside in the ICA sound archive. Best wishes Roger
  18. Just the one word, but a valid literary reference for all that. Quite early on in Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood when Captain Cat is dreaming of the past and 'the long drowned nuzzle up to him' their questions run 'How's it above?' 'Is there rum and lavabread?' 'Bosoms and Robins?' 'Concertinas? ' 'Ebenezer's bell?'...... And let's not forget the opening of Kipling's 'Cells': I've a head like a concertina.... Now just what does that really mean? A hangover certainly, but why a concertina? Who admits to extensive experience of crapulence? Enlighten us!
  19. Now that I am back at home and able to check the fact I can also state that my 31 F/C raised end Jeffries has metal rests.With just 31 keys there is loads of room on the reed pans and yet the space below the wrists has been chosen in spite of room being available on the 'sides'. The same is true of my 31 G/D (wooden rests) so I can contribute no evidence for this part of the pan being avoided. Best wishes Roger
  20. I can also testify to a metal support on an Anglo. It's a 38 G/D (ex Kilroy) and I am convinced it has never been retuned. It is high pitch and uneven temperament - both features which a retuned Duet would probably have removed. Were there Duets as small as 38s? On the subject of Jeffries as a maker of English system instruments, the receipt from 1920 which is in the Museum section of this site, proudly proclaims him as an 'English and Anglo-German Concertina Manufacturer'. Mind you, I've never seen one! Best wishes Roger
  21. Mrs Crotty played a Lachenal. It must surely have been a special one!! Does anyone know for sure?
  22. Great news Dave. Glad to hear you are back on the case; you are certainly the man for the job. Best of luck. I have never heard of Fred playing a duet, but can certainly understand why he might have had one to try. It would have been the obvious system for him if he had come to it first. Keep in touch Roger
  23. The late Andrew Blakeney-Edwards on his four row, 51 button Jeffries. Maple Leaf, Scott Joplin's Rag, Entertainer and others. Absolutely blinding.
  24. A very knowledgable person on the subject of Fred Kilroy is Dave Prebble who was certainly looking at 'producing' something, though whether it was an article or recording I don't know. Dave is an irrepressable enthusiast and I am sure will be happy to get involved in discussion. Fred was an astonishing player whom most listeners would certainly assume was playing a duet system; such was his expertise across the rows and the key signatures. I have a cassette of him playing very casually - lots of false starts and unfinished pieces and, of course, lots of coughing from the emphysemia that eventually carried him off. A party piece was 'Lady of Spain' modulating through as many keys as he could! He was a reader, having early experience as a bandsman (was it on trumpet?) He certainly did not think in terms of 'home keys' and I think you can hear the influence of 'band parts'. As far as I know there are no commercial recordings available at all. I have the Alan Ward articles and would be happy to copy them. I think all the early Traditional Music magazines that Alan Ward produced were eventually made available on CD Rom when Rod Stradling got involved and introduced electronic technology. I don't know how many Anglos Fred had. I have it heard it said that he had six. If so, I have three of them and Chris Timson's makes four. Two to go?
  25. There was some interest on the site a few weeks ago regarding some concertinas that are coming up at Sotheby’s on Nov 25. Viewing opened this morning and I popped down for a look. I thought my views might be of some interest, if dubious value! The three Anglos are all Jeffries and all having sticking buttons or substantial ‘syphoning’, which appears to be nothing more serious than broken springs, (I didn’t take the ends off!) This makes it very difficult to assess the tone and the temperament but as far as I could see all three are conventionally arranged 30 key instruments - or 32 key as I am learning to say! All three appear basically very sound but in need of a clean and some revalving. I think the obvious problem of sticking and syphoning is simply springs. All have metal ends and buttons. Lot no. 309 is the most interesting as it is a five inch model. I knew of only two of these. One (the Loveless/Submarine bulkhead story) passed, I think to Tommy McCarthy and thus to Jacqueline, and the other which was also around Islington in the 70s and I think may once have been with Tony Engle went on, I heard, to Jacky Daly. I presume this is a third. (Perhaps someone knows much more than me about these five inch models and will pick this up.) This one has 7 fold bellows, but the small size means that it is still quite short of wind. Apart from a broken strap and some sticky buttons on the left hand (possibly needs rebushing) this looks to need little more than that to be fully serviceable. A =440. Praed St stamp. Catalogue price guide £2000 - £2500. Lot no.313, (A =435, Praed St stamp) has six fold bellows and, again, seems to need little more than some work on the action to be brought into a playable state. The guide price for this is £1200 - £1800 and I can see no reason why it is so much lower than the others. Lot no. 312 is stamped C. Jeffries between the buttons (only once! Very restrained.) and Neville Crabb was firmly of the opinion that this represented a John Crabb which Jeffries sold on. Again the bellows are six fold and this time they are a reddish-brown. The syphoning is such that Sotheby’s has been unable to establish the pitch. Again I think this would come into full use without major surgery. Guide price: £1800 - £2500. Because I didn’t take the ends off I didn’t read the stamps on the reed frames and I had no way of deciding the pitch of the instruments. I did work out that the two 6 inch ones were a tone apart so I expect they are C/G and Bflat/F. I didn’t look at the English systems as I would be unable to make any informed observation, but I do have the catalogue which gives 3 Lachenals, 2 Wheatsones and a Chidley. If anyone wishes to email me for the catalogue listings, please feel free, but it’s probably all on the Sotheby’s website, though I had a lot of difficulties getting into it! Best wishes to you all. Roger
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