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Dan Worrall

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  1. Well, dang! I have a wooden two row "Jeffries" Bb/F, sold to me as a Jeffries and I have no reason to doubt the seller's assessment...but it has no exterior stamp, so I guess it is a Crabb (or to be charitable, a Jeffries/Crabb). No matter. It was beautifully restored and plays just great. It is a favorite of mine, clacky buttons and all.
  2. Myrtle's Cook, Another item for your list 'against' John Maccann of 107 Rice Lane, who died in 1931, being our Maccann is that the Lachenal catalogue of 1920ish (Concertina Library) states that he was by then the late Professor Maccann. In that he was a dealer and teacher for Lachenal, they should know whether he was dead or not. Somehow I cannot see the roller-skating comedian being him, either. For someone in their forties to be that proficient in stage athletics would be unusual enough, but for someone known as the Professor and King of the Concertina, back from a multiyear concert tour of down under - where any athletic and comedic skills were not mentioned- to have spent enough time to maintain that sort of athletic and comedic skill seems a bit much. Not impossible, but not likely. Fun search, keep it going! Dan
  3. One last thing about Peter. There is a sizeable group of Aussie players who have a new sort of email network called the Concertina Convergence....sort of like a facebook page but thankfully not on facebook, and not a blog. At any rate, this was the letter sent out on Peter's untimely death. There are really deep feelings for this man. That's it from me! Dan Note to Concertina Convergence group: Dear concertina players, This week we have lost a friend and legend in the world of Australian concertina dance music, with the death of Peter Ellis after a very short illness. Those of you who got to our Concertina Convergence Concert at the National Folk Festival were lucky to catch Peter doing a wonderful act of demonstrating, in his inimitable way, the use of the concertina as a one-instrument, old-time dance band. As well as pumping out those lovely old tunes, he showed the technique of forcefully ‘swinging’ the concertina vertically or horizontally to accentuate parts of a tune and make the sound travel in interesting ways. Peter contributed enormously to this year’s ‘National’ in his usual busy festival schedule of workshops, concerts, dances, and sessions, but sadly, just weeks after the festival, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Not only was Peter a legend in playing dance music on concertina, but also in inspiring and encouraging others, by generously sharing music and dance in so many ways. He loved dancing, and was a sought-after dance caller, and with his fascination for music history, a collector, researcher and thorough acknowledger of old tunes, songs and dances, as well as a producer of dance music books and recordings, and coordinator of dance bands, singer of interesting old songs, ....and the list goes on....and on. In fact, Peter was a veritable walking, talking, playing, dancing and singing encyclopaedia of Australia’s social dance history. He was a generous contributor at the Bush Traditions gatherings and dance weekends in NSW, as well as many events in his home State of Victoria. Peter’s concertina was a force to be reckoned with in those mighty sessions, but he was always one of nature’s gentlemen. The Victorian folk music world, we of the Concertina Convergence, and the wider world of Australian social/bush music and dance will sadly miss him, but we’ll always remember his smile and infectious enthusiasm at the joys of sharing music, dance and song, and a good story or two. VALE Peter. Keep playing beautiful music, from Carole, on behalf of the Concertina Convergence team
  4. I share Stephen's compliments to Myrtle's Cook. Well done! Just a thought. But if any of either foul play or mental illness is suspected in or after 1911, as per above posts, would there be any Liverpool police documents for that year that could be searched...or documents for the local mental ward? I remember searching the magistrate's court records of Bow Street Station in London for the 19th century once; lots of great information on a couple of street performers. But if that type of data isn't online for Liverpool, we non-Liverpudlians can't get at it. And presumably the coroner's office files have already been looked at by others? And come to think of it, Myrtle's Cook, have you seen any sign of those working class concertina bands in your area that we keep hearing about? Thanks for the hard work! We should set some sort of prize for the first who finds Maccann's death info....maybe that prize would be a copy of Bob Gaskins planned book on Maccann! Dan ps. Crane Driver - nice sleuthing on the wedding signatures. And Dowright's notion that a 1911 Liverpool death certificate might exist is very promising.
  5. A few more things about Peter. Memorial service Guest book A nice concise description of Peter and folk dance and folk dance music in Australia A Youtube of Peter playing a polka mazurka. Peter's playing was technically straightforward, often on a single row as in this piece, but that simplicity belies a strong understanding of and commitment to playing for old time dances. Peter was among a rare number of modern concertina players in Australia to primarily play for dances in an old style that eschews the showiness of modern session music, and instead highlights rhythm for the use of dancers. Peter had a deep knowledge and love for these dances - ones that seem so remote today: polka mazurkas, varsovianas, the Pride of Erin waltz, Gay Gordons, cotillons, and on and on. Most session players today would be hard pressed to give clear tune examples of each of these various dance rhythms, let alone play them rhythmically well enough for social dances....not for lack of technical skill, but for lack of experience in playing these instruments in the way in which they were used 150 years ago. Peter and others in Australia have labored long and hard to keep the practice of traditional social dance alive. We can hear CDs of people like Dooley Chapman and William Kimber and Mary Ann Carolan, but having Peter around was a living bridge to their time. He will be missed.
  6. A mighty concertina player and all-round musician and folk dance expert has passed away in Australia. Peter Ellis died last night of cancer; Rob Willis sent me the very sad news. For those of you not fortunate enough to have known Peter, he lived in Bendigo, Victoria Australia. He has been a contributor and leader in the folk music and dance community there for decades. He began the Bush Dance and Music Club of Bendigo as well as the Emu Creek Bush Band, playing both anglo concertina and button accordion. He was a prolific author of all sorts of books and CDs on Australian music and dance; there were few to none in that scene in Australia that did not enjoy his cheerful friendship. He was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2012 for his lifelong contributions to that country's music and dance heritage. My wife and I had the great privilege to meet him and travel around the country with him in 2012. I had hoped to go back for another meeting with Peter, but now that shall not happen. Rest in peace, Peter. They may not allow accordions in heaven, but surely there will be concertinas there! Dan
  7. Edited to combine this post with my post just before it, for clarity (ie, see previous post!).
  8. Don't ask me why I am following up on the final days of a duet player! But here are some random thoughts on the last years of Maccann. His final tutor was published between 1901 and 1902, and in it he is interviewed, and says: I revisited the States in March 1901, for a six months tour, then back again to London, and I have already told you that I shall soon be leaving England again for my next tour, which takes me this time to Australia with Mr. Harry Rickard's Company. http://www.concertina.com/maccann-duet/howtoplay/Maccann-How-to-Play-the-Concertina-1902-HQ.pdf Rickards was an Australian talent scout and producer of music hall entertainment. https://ozvta.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/rickards-harry-3032015.pdf Maccann indeed goes to Australia (and New Zealand) with Rickards; here is an advert for a show on 27 November 1902: http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=WC19021127.2.31.3 In May 1903 he was still there, and gave a performance at a local freemasonry group meeting -- not exactly Carnegie Hall, but a paying gig. At the conclusion of the ceremonies, the brethren adjourfned to the Cafe Cecil, where a banquet was served, and the usual toasts were gone through, interspersed with se lections by Bro. McCann, the Concertina King, and songs and recitations by other brethren. An August 14 1903 New Zealand paper noted that he returned to London. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=WDT19030814.2.25 He was in Dublin in 1903 as I noted in a post above, and he was in the Sheffield Grand Theatre 1903 as per Wes Williams post above. A November 11 1903 article in the Otago Witness (New Zealand) says: Concertina King McCann, recently through New Zealand with Rickard's Company, is running a musical academy in Liverpool. A ca 1905 Lachnal brochure reads as if he were still alive: Professor Maccann can recommend these instruments for simplicity in learning. A Lachenal brochure of ca 1920 mentions "the late Professor McCann." Both of these brochures are on www.concertina.com. We can thus assume that McCann died in or after 1905 and before 1920. I would guess that that death occurred in 1905 or 1906, otherwise he would have turned up in a music hall gig or some such - unless he was incapacitated for a long time. Now let's turn to the "musical academy" in Liverpool (mentioned in 1903, above). Neil Wayne noted in his concertina museum website that he had a Lachenal duet Concertina stamped Maccann's English Concertina Academy, Liverpool; Lachenal & Co's Instruments. It is listed there as C.309 Lachenal & Co Maccann Duet, 61 Key, gilt metal ends, No 1819. Internal dealer's stamp on inner pan face from "Maccann's English Concertina Academy, Liverpool; Lachenal & Co's Instruments". Whether THE Maccann, or merely a use of his name, is not known. Here is the stamp: http://www.concertin...ies/C309g3b.jpg It says Maccann's English Concertina Academy 16 Dunkeld Street West Derby Road Liverpool Lachenal & Company Instruments With the 1903 note from New Zealand, we can assume that Maccann opened that place in 1903 after returning from Australia/New Zealand, and that perhaps it was also his last domicile. Can any of you UK based sleuths do anything with this address and information?
  9. Your recollection is indeed perfect, Chris! That one is a real favorite of mine...perfect for Dooley Chapman tunes...... Cheers, Dan
  10. Sean, Thanks for posting the photo.....I missed seeing everyone this year. Kudos to Jim Bayliss and Jody Kruskal for keeping it going another year! Dan
  11. Wow....a great start! I could not help but thinking, as I watched your Youtube, that an Anglo made like that would be great for learners, if at a reasonably economic price. I've got a little concertina group meeting once a month here in Texas, and half of them are learners struggling with those Chinese-made Anglos that are - sorry to say - worse than useless. One lady is developing shoulder problems struggling with the stiff bellows on hers, while she waits a year for a decent concertina to be built for her. Another has a Stagi that is out of tune. If you can make an Anglo in about the same price range as those, with a decent imitation bellows action, then I should think that there would be a fair market. Not to slight the English concertina - it is wonderful! - its just that the market is so thoroughly in the Anglo camp, by a factor of perhaps five or ten. Obviously you will have to get a concertina tone somehow. And then get rid of that external powerpack with the cord....surely there is room inside for some rechargeable lithium batteries? Those are my two cents worth. I'm delighted to see this work progress. An electronic Anglo or English would never replace the real thing in my arsenal, but it would be a real hoot to have one for a little variety of sound timbre when playing in a group. Even a concertina player gets a bit tired of the constant screamer sound every now and then, and switching over to a little tuba oompah for a polka would be just plain fun. Dan
  12. This is the eleventh year we've held this, and probably the eighth year that someone brought up Lena on the thread. We have eagerly awaited her arrival, but alas! The Queen of Palesteena hasn't showed herself. Yet. We'll have to settle for BBQ, dogwood blossums, old timey music, and...did anyone say.....concertinas in old Palestina?
  13. It's that time again, time to start thinking about bringing yourself and your concertina to the East Texas pineywoods for the 11th Annual Old Palestine Concertina Weekend (and Old Time Music and Dulcimer Festival). The festival will occur March 26-28 this year, in the small town of Palestine, Texas. This year we are very fortunate to have a return visit from Jody Kruskal, in what is, I think, his fifth appearance at our concertina weekend. Jody is a superb teacher and a superb performer...and a very nice fellow to boot, as all on this Forum will know. We are still working on his Texas accent, but other than that, he'll do just fine! Jim Bayliss is stepping up to take the reins on organizing the workshops this year. Jim plays duet and Anglo, and has been to nearly every one of these gatherings, from the very beginning. To get on the mailing list for workshop details, etc. send him a PM via this forum, or via email at jmbayliss"at"juno.com For new folks, the Palestine music festival is an absolute gem, with a charming location in the East Texas Pineywoods, in high springtime. Lots for non-musical spouses to do in town (an old steam train; dogwood festival that week, azaleas, etc.), and there are superb festival concerts every lunchtime and every evening, in an old auditorium seemingly right out of a Faulkner novel. There are workshops for every conceivable stringed instrument, from various forms of dulcimers to fiddles to banjos, and shape note singing workshops for singers....for me those shape note sing-ins are among the high points. The performers -- old time genre for the most part, but always some variety too -- are accomplished, and very approachable. It is all very laid back. The festival website can give you the general details, prices etc. http://www.oldpalmusic.com/ But for the concertina activities, please contact Jim at the above address. Come join us for some BBQ, springtime, and tunes! Dan
  14. Thanks very much for posting this, Irene. I never had the chance to meet him, but between the photographs and the selected tunes one can get a good idea of who he was and of his musical tastes. Wonderful stuff. Dan
  15. And lest we forget the Brits, William Kimber at 89 was still the best traditional concertina player in England in his day, and a decade later Scan Tester at 85 was a force to be reckoned with. Dooley Chapman at 90 in Australia surely was the best player in Oz in 1982, to look at festival schedules of that day (ok, maybe there was a young whippersnapper or two out there, but they certainly didn't have Dooley's charm). The big problem is not the brain or the hands, as these folks and Peter's examples show. One must only keep on the right side of the grass, and keep being engaged with music and people.
  16. Dunno the answer to the question, but I do know that the Germans were into all sorts of end shapes by the time of this picture, from 1855. Round, square, rectangle, hex, octagon....whatever anyone wanted.
  17. Many thanks, Greg, for those exceedingly kind words. Always great to know that someone out there discovers and appreciates such an effort. As one who started down the Anglo trail via Bertram Levy's wonderful tutor of thirty plus years ago, I remember Bertram's comment to the effect that learning to play the Anglo is a lifelong journey. One can certainly spend one's time traveling along one single highway, exploring it in great depth to great enjoyment, or one may find that there are many other highways too that beckon. The House Dance CD was done with the latter strategy in mind. Having put it together, I was amazed that the old patterns of playing the instrument in various locations were really quite similar - to the extent that we can say today from a limited set of old recordings. I'm still amazed by that, and love to play in octaves. Glad there is another octave aficianado out there. Dan
  18. Fascinating! I visited Neil Wayne two or three years ago and saw his collection of 'tinware'. I don't remember seeing a shield but I was not focussed on it. I did see a lot of cups. While you're ringing folks, Dave, why not ring Neil about it? Dan
  19. I discussed Rock Chidley and his bankruptcy in my book; see page 22 of volume 1: http://books.google.com/books?id=1-thWE5XRmsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=anglo+concertina+worrall&hl=en&sa=X&ei=4XHaU9K7E8ic8gGYgoHgDA&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=anglo%20concertina%20worrall&f=false Rock was listed as a concertina maker in the London City Directory until 1886. And as Wes mentioned, his brother Edward was active with Wheatstone until his death in 1899. Then Edward's son Edward Jr took over. And Edward Senior's grandson Kenneth Vernon Chidley joined Wheatstone in 1906, managing it by 1924. They probably should have renamed it the Chidley concertina!
  20. Now that that is settled, what music was he playing? He spent some time inscribing a five line staff and some five notes on the front....again sorry about the focus as it was very dark. Any ideas? The staff is at least as clear as the inflation calculations......
  21. As for me, I'm sticking with Stephen's estimates. I learned a long time ago that he usually ends up being right! I still think low thousands of dollars is about right, based on many of the logic streams that Stephen pointed out. BTW, there is a currency inflator that Randy Merris and Bob Gaskins developed for calculating vintage concertina prices in today's money, in the concertina library (concertina.com). Using the year 1862 and the lowest price of Geoff's Nickold's price range (1 pound 7 s), one calculates a modern price of 637 Sterling. That times 1.7 yields about $1000, more or less. Stephen has pointed out the error bars. Like I said, low thousands of dollars, one way or the other. In my history books, I used that calculator to figure out the daily take of Victorian street musicians playing concertinas, and always thought that the result seemed more or less reasonable. Prices of German concertinas, by the way, were about 90% less, which partly explains their astonishingly higher popularity.
  22. Thanks, Geoff. So even a Nickolds was pricey. Those prices reflect a concertina that in todays terms would cost in the low thousands of dollars....more or less what a new EC would cost today. That deserter must have been a Boston Brahmin!
  23. Terry, I may read your question a bit differently than some. I think you are saying that you want to play Nutting Girl in G, but to use the C row some of the time, and G others (ie, not that you want to play the tune in C). If that interpretation is correct, then you would be close to the way William Kimber would approach a tune. He was basically an octave player, and I described in some detail octave cross-rowing techniques in my House Dance CDRom. Kimber's style was - in its most elemental form - to play in octaves, drop out every other note on the bass (left) side to enhance rhythm, and add a third interval partial chord to each remaining bass octave note. When playing in either G or D he cross-rowed all the time, to answer your question. A good example would be Over the Hills to Glory, a Country Dance tune that he played in G. In the A part, it is low in pitch and, just as you asked, it is partly played on the C row. In the B part the pitch is higher, and he migrated fully to the G row. Normal operating procedure, and your instinct is correct. A transcription of that and all his tunes, as he played them, are in my 2005 book on William Kimber, published by the EFDSS. Most G tunes fit about 80% on the G row in the Kimber style, and 20% on the C row. C tunes typically are played roughly 50% on the C row and 50% on the G. Lots of cross rowing. Modern players will play it differently, with fuller chords and oom-pahs, and just about anything goes as long as it suits the needs of the dancers, I should think.
  24. Stephen, A Nickolds makes perfect sense. The ends just don't have the finish and quality of a Wheatstone, or even a Lachenal. I'm used to seeing cheaper knockoffs of Anglos, but it surprised me to see an EC in such a basic form. I have seen very nice looking Nickolds though (probably you showed me one). That a basic EC would be the one falling into the hands of a soldier makes sense too....the really good ones must have been extraordinarily expensive. Have you ever seen any adverts for Nickolds showing a range in qualities and prices? Steve, No telling why he left it, but it is amazing what one would leave behind if on the lam. Or to be more generous, maybe he never returned because he had an accidental death (but not in combat....he was far from the battlefields). I've often felt that an EC was a better choice for Civil War tunes than an Anglo, mostly because it can be played in a nice legato manner, and so many of the classics are mournful dirges and/or slow love ballads. I play both types of concertinas, but reserve the Anglo for the bouncy minstrel tunes of that same era (Oh Susannah, Getting Upstairs, etc.). Dan
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