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Richard Carlin

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  1. I recently obtained the attached photo of Herbert Ayers holding what appears to be a tortoise shell Wheatstone -- it is dated 1948 and signed. Judging from his snappy attire, I'd say he was a nightclub performer -- I have a very similar photo of Boris Matusewitch during his nightclub days (the pose is nearly identical -- which makes me wonder if this is also the work of Bruno of Hollywood, the celebrity photographer who took Boris's picture -- this one is unlabeled). Anyhow, anyone with info on Mr. Ayers -- who he was, if he is still alive, where he played, etc. -- I'd be most appreciative.
  2. I doubt very much that Wheatstone could make anything that would have contributed to the war effort -- decoder concertinas? When I interviewed the Fayre Four Sisters in 1975, Tina (the eldest) told me that the two Chidley Brothers insisted on going into the 15 West St showroom/offices every day, despite the air raid alerts. According to her--war or no war--they were determined to keep the shop open.
  3. In my own defense, I do discuss using both 3 fingers and 2 fingers to play chords (I'm sorry if the reader/commenter found this discussion confusing). The fact is that sometimes it is easier to play, for example, C-G using just ONE finger (covering two keys with one finger) and sometimes, for reasons that have to do with where you're gonig NEXT, you might want to use TWO FINGERS. I'm working on a revision of my tutor -- remember, I wrote this 30 years ago and some things have changed in my oiwn playing! -- which has a much extended discussion of arranging plus more songs. The problem with giving chord charts and saying "This is the way you should ALWAYS finger these chords" is that there are a million exceptions to always. Richard Carlin
  4. Richard means players of the English, as opposed to the anglo or duet (or Chemnitzer). They need not be residents or citizens of England. In fact, I suspect he would like photos of players from as many countries as possible. Right, Richard? <{POST_SNAPBACK}> Sorry--I didn't mean to offend Bulgarians who play the English concertina -- yes, I meant photos of English-system players -- Jim, I imagine you must have a few . . .
  5. Hello All: I'm working away at the new edition of my book, THE ENGLISH CONCERTINA, published way back when in 1977 by Oak Publications and to be republished sometime in the not-too-distant future by Mel Bay. The original edition had many historic photographs that I had gathered at the time, and I am busily gathering some new ones. I'm inviting readers of this website to contribute any interesting photos -- of English players please! -- that they'd like to share in the new edition. I can accept scans at 300 dpi in JPEG or TIFF formats -- and you may email them to me at rcarlin@taylorandfrancis.com. Full credit will naturally be given, but I have no budget to pay for photo use (Ah, the joys of working as a folk musician!) Be sure to include a short caption and credit line you'd like to have used in the book. Thanks in advance for your help and interest. Thanks also to those who responded with corrections and notes for the new edition -- Richard Carlin
  6. It's great to hear about BBC recordings of Alf Edwards--I'm wondering if anyone has done a search in their sound archives as I imagine he must have made other radio recordings in the '50s and '60s. There were 3 NIXA 78s made in the early '50s (one of which I reissued on Folkways 8845 many years ago) -- I noticed those sold on Ebay within the last 6 months. Fantasy holds the rights to the ART OF THE CONCERTINA LP and when I asked, many years ago when I was working for Folkways, they were willing to license them (but only for the North American market--which killed the deal for Folkways). When I was recording concertina players in London in 1975, Alf was already very ill (with Parkinson's) and I sadly wasn't able to visit him. I'm wondering if anyone did any oral history with him at any time -- Perhaps this is time for someone with deep pockets to gather all Alf Edwards materials for a boxed set! Dare I mention Free Reed (who have been doing a big business in boxed sets of people like Fairport, Martin Carthy, etc.) Bear Family might be another candidate. I'd be glad to spearhead a campaign if folks are willing to donate materials they might have. I can ask around to see if we could interest one of the folk labels in doing either a selection or a massive collection. Richard
  7. Recently, some rare Alf Edwards recordings--apparently unique acetates--were sold on Ebay -- I was among the bidders but outbid at the end! I wonder if whoever purchased these is willing to reveal his/her identity and -- if possible -- make these recordings available at least in some format. There are very few recordings of Edwards available -- some 78s he made in the early '50s, the many accompaniments he provided to Ewan MacColl and A. L. Lloyd, and of course the wonderful ART OF THE CONCERTINA LP that is long out of print. It would be great if on demand CDs or some other format could be used to make more available. Richard Carlin
  8. Thanks to everybody for kind words about the OLD book -- occasionally copies turn up on Ebay (I don't have any extras for sale) for those who want to see it. The new edition will probably be mostly redone from scratch as I wrote the original when I was a mere 20 year old . . . so I know there's lots I want to change. The new edition will include an Audio CD (rather than the old fashioned flexidisc) I can't control whether Mel Bay uses comb binding, but I'll suggest it. The Folkways Records release of old concertina material (The English Concertina, FW 8845) is still available on special order CD from the Smithsonian/Folkways archives for those who want to have one. By the way, I didn't use 78s from Harry Minting -- the Fayre Four material came from the sisters themselves, the Matusewitch 78 from Boris Matusewitch, and the Alf Edwards . . . I can't remember, but it wasn't Harry!!! It would be wonderful if Stephen issued a CD of other early recordings of concertina music -- I'd buy one! Speaking of Harry Minting: Who ended up with Harry's old instruments??? He had a wonderful "clarinet" concertina with a beautiful tone--among many other nice items. Anyhow, if anyone has CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM to offer (I realize that small mistakes crept in throughout the text), that would be great, too. I wasn't fishing for compliments, although they're always welcome, too! Richard
  9. Hello (English) concertina players: Mel Bay has asked me to update/revise my concertina instruction book, originally published by Oak in 1977 and in print through 2000. I have lots of ideas -- naturally -- but would appreciate hearing from anyone (privately at harryminting@aol.com or publically here) with corrections, ideas, suggestions for the new edition. Also, if anyone thinks it's a good idea, I could post text as I work on it for input from learners/experienced players. I'm not exactly sure where/how to do this, but am open to suggestions. Thanks in advance for all your support & help. Richard Carlin
  10. Oops -- forgot about telephone directories not being around that early. I guess I am showing my lack of sleuthing skills . . . Thanks for further clarifications about what's out there to Stephen as it will save me time trying to get this info. I interviewed Harry Minting in 1975 and have a transcript of that . . . but it's more about him than concertina history per se. I will look through it again and if anything relevant is there I'll post.
  11. Thanks to all for the information about Chidleys, etc., here. I appreciate all the sleuthing on this subject -- does anyone know where one might find British business records going back to the 19th century? I don't know if businesses had to "register" with the government, but there might be insight into ownership there . . . I'm primarily interested in the history of the Wheatstone firm, rather than the exact relation of all the family members (although they are definitely intertwined -- but as Wes noted it's pretty complicated). We know William Wheatstone died in 1860 -- it's doubtful that Charles "rejoined" the firm then, as he was already well established as a scientist. Perhaps this is when Edward Chidley returned -- whether by purchasing the firm or simply de facto as manager -- which would also support the change noted in the style/construction of instruments. Harry Crabb always insisted Wheatstone shut down for a while in the 1850s due to the competition of other small makers -- (or perhaps due to William's illness?) -- perhaps Lachenal was supplying instruments under the Wheatstone label as it did for other makers during this period -- as part of a separation agreement (?) between Lachenal and Wheatstone. This is all conjecture and speculative -- Has anyone combed through the music trade papers of this period and/or MUSICAL TIMES (although they mostly note concert appearances by people like Regondi and Blagrove)--I assume phone directories have been searched . . . Well anyhow just more thinking. Thanks again to everyone. I appreciate the input and information. RC
  12. Yes, just to save my Chidley reputation, I DID mean Sydney as I have a copy of OLD FAVOURITES -- so clearly he at least played concertina. But thanks Wes for the great info and Stephen it seems you're holding some cards as well--do we have to wait for the distinguished Mr. Alan Atlas to publish your article to find out more about Wheatstone's early manufacturing history??? It seems that the more we dig into this, the more we find everybody somehow knew or was related to everyone else. According to Geoff Crabb, his great-grandfather John's sister worked for Lachenal in the early days. It seems there were a number of craftspeople who moved from firm to firm as it were between c. 1850 to 1870 -- in addition, many "makers" were in fact just "labellers" as we know (reselling other's instruments under their own label) -- and some may have been more like "assemblers" than "makers" (drawing on a common pool of specialists who actually made the reeds, bellows, etc.) Perhaps this is all just TOO esoteric but it would be nice to get everything assembled in one place. BTW, I could not find the Chidley family tree on the ICA site -- anybody have a direct link?
  13. Just to finish up, this instrument is not the same as the Stolen One -- I checked serial numbers. Thanks one & all. I've heard from the owner and it seems that the original listing was legit. I find it hard to believe someone would have the nerve to lift photos, description (including serial number!), and repost within a few days of the original auction--hoping I assume to snag some easy cash. Ebay apparently pulled the listing, but never acknowledged receipt of my complaint--or (alternately) whoever posted the 2nd auction became nervous and pulled it down in light of the many inquiries. Either way, goodness has triumphed (let's hope)!
  14. OK rabid concertina historians -- has anyone yet done a complete Wheatstone-Chidley family tree? Judging from past postings, there seems to be some knowledge about the Chidleys, at least beginning around 1900 -- but I have never seen complete information about how (indeed, IF) the Chidleys were related to Wheatstone. . . or indeed exactly who ran the Wheatstone firm from the 1830s on -- There's a good deal of folklore about the relations between Chas & William Wheatstone and Sydney and "Rock" Chidley (was Rock a nickname???) and the various workmen who assisted them in the first decades of the instrument's manufacture -- Louis Lachenal, John Crabb, Mr. Austin, etc.--but I'm wondering if anyone has dug into business records of the era (if they exist), phone directories, and the usual genealogical sleuthing. Any info would be greatly appreciated! It would be nice to have this all sorted out once & fer all.
  15. The original seller assures me he is not relisting so I believe this is a fraud. I have notified Ebay but they have not pulled the listing. I hope whoever is bidding does not lose their money.
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