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John Watcham and Brighton Morris


gcoover
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I just discovered some fairly recent Morris dancing videos on YouTube that have somehow managed to elude Leo’s amazing eagle eye. Although at times it is difficult to find him, all of these have John Watcham on Anglo concertina (Albion Morris, Son of Morris On, Anglo International, etc.), along with the other musicians and dancers with the Brighton Morris Men.

 

Brighton Morris Dancing Day, Brighton, May 15, 2011 – There are several other Morris teams in this video, you’ll see Brighton about 10:20 into it and John is way way way in the back while the team dances “Shooting”:

 

 

Brighton Morris Dancing Day, Pavilion Gardens Café in Brighton, May 15, 2011 – The Willow Tree via a very shaky hand-held camera:

 

 

Outside the Lewes Arms in Lewes on July 14, 2011 – There are two parts to this, John plays Shooting, (one I don’t recognize), Black Joke, British Grenadiers, Lads A Bunchum, William & Nancy, Morning Star, and Over the Hills:

 

 

Outside the Sir Charles Napier Pub in Brighton on July 17, 2011 – John plays Young Collins, Willow Tree, Rakes of Mallow, Over the Hills, and Upton-on-Severn/Cock of the North:

 

 

Somewhere in Brighton in August 2010, a nice concertina and melodeon version of William & Nancy:

 

And here’s a rather poor quality older one from 2005 playing Upton-on-Severn/Cock of the North:

 

He’s usually in the back or out of sight, but every now and again you get to see John and his concertina up close.

 

Enjoy!

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I was one of the other sides at the Brighton Day of Dance this year and had the pleasure of seeing Brighton Morris Men do a jig (My Lord of Sherbourne) with a solo musician - who I guess was John Watcham as the solo musician was an anglo player. It was brilliant.

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Thanks for this. I don't think I've seen/heard John Watcham since his days as one half of Mr Gladstone's Bag in the 1970s, accompanying Mike Clifton's renditions of Music Hall songs and assorted Victoriana and Edwardiana. His treatment of The Cucumber Song (Oh what a beauty. I've never seen one as big as that before) and The Lost Chord (I was seated one day at the organ) among others were what made me first realise what could be achieved on an anglo. He played for Chingford Morris originally, of which Albion was an offshoot.

 

Chas

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I have it in my head that there's a video on t'Internet somewhere of John Watcham leading the Albion Band & Albion Morris in a performance of the Upton Stick Dance (which links nicely into another current thread).

 

However my Google fu is letting me down and I can't find it - does anyone have a link, or have I made the whole thing up?

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Hi Steve - The only videos I know of are the two on YouTube that feature, respectively, the album covers for "Rattlebone & Ploughjack" and "The Electric Muse", but nothing that shows any live action.

 

BTW, I've recently joined Black Dog Molly as a musician, so I may be meeting you in the flesh if you're at the Churnet Valley Railway gig on 25/9/11 (I'll unfortunately be missing the upcoming Powderkegs weekend of dance).

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I have it in my head that there's a video on t'Internet somewhere of John Watcham leading the Albion Band & Albion Morris in a performance of the Upton Stick Dance (which links nicely into another current thread).

 

Too tired to search for it. Either last winter, or the winter before, the video was discussed on C.net.

 

It's probably in the Concertina Videos thread. The video was actually Steeleye Span, with an appearance of John Watcham and the Albion Morris. I recall Alan Day making a witty comment.

 

Happy hunting!

 

Regards,

Peter.

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Aha, that gave me enough of a steer and I found it in the Who Was (is) that man)' thread, http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=8512 from 2008.

 

Sadly the programme was only on iPlayer for 7 days and then disappeared back into the BBC vaults.

 

I was trying to find it this time last year, when we (Powderkegs) were starting to learn the 'proper' Upton Upon Severn stick dance; the mystery is now solved, even if the clip isn't available (unless anyone knows of it on YouTube of course).

 

Thanks Peter

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There's good news and bad news:

 

The good news is that I did record it when it was shown on BBC4. The show was "Steeleye Span at Penshurst Place", originally screened in 1974. John Watcham and the Albions perform Upton Stick at approx. 18 minutes through the half-hour programme.

 

The bad news is that it's recorded on a DVD-RAM disc, which won't play in most DVD players or computers. My only excuse is that I plumped for a DVD-RAM machine so that I could edit what I'd recorded (primarily removing the ads from C4 films).

 

If you have a player that can handle the format, Steve, you're welcome to borrow the disc. Alternatively, if anyone knows of a techy solution, then please let me know!

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  • 3 weeks later...

And, here's yet one more video that has music from John Watcham, playing the Bampton tune "Webley Twizzle" on concertina, but in this instance it's a video of Victory Morris from Portsmouth and it just uses the audio from the Albion Morris CD "Still Dancing After All These Years". I guess they liked the tune so much they used it twice!

 

 

Gary

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I have it in my head that there's a video on t'Internet somewhere of John Watcham leading the Albion Band & Albion Morris in a performance of the Upton Stick Dance (which links nicely into another current thread).

 

However my Google fu is letting me down and I can't find it - does anyone have a link, or have I made the whole thing up?

 

I just got a DVD-R in the mail yesterday from Russia with the full Steeleye Span BBC4 program from 1974, and Albion Morris does a guest set in the middle with "Wheatley On", "Upton-on-Severn" and "Bonny Green Garters". John Watcham plays concertina, backed up by Rick Kemp and Nigel Pegrum. I'm not sure which is more impressive, his concertina playing or his massive mutton chop sideburns! But he's not alone, the audience is sporting some serious 1970's hairstyles as well. Looks like a pretty dreadful gig, playing for a mostly older crowd at a medieval banquet, even Lord De L'Isle does not look amused.

 

Gary

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