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George Salley, Rip

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In researching some information for a thread poster elsewhere on this Forum, I discovered that George Salley passed away last November. George was editor-at-large of the early version of Concertina and Squeezebox back in the 1980s (along with John Townley), and wrote several articles on the use of concertinas on board ships. I knew him via corresepondence; he very kindly edited my material on Concertinas at Sea http://books.google....epage&q&f=false


I should have guessed that when his prized Dipper Shantyman came up for sale last winter on this Forum that he had met his Maker. George had a very positive impact on many of us concertina players back in the 80s with his work for C&S. As you can see from the obituary, concertinas didn't get an entry, as he had many things said about him in a life well lived. Fair sailing, George!


George Callier Salley
Virginia Beach - Born February 1, 1933 in Atmore, AL. Died November 16 in Middlesex County, VA. He joined the Army at 17 during Korea, trained as a paratrooper and was assigned to the 11th Airborne Division. He graduated, as a Sigma Chi from the University of Virginia in 1958 with a BA in Philosophy. During this he met Betty Atkeson. They were joyfully married for 55 years. He worked at NASA, on the Apollo, Viking projects, and space station. He had a small plane, which he swapped for a sailboat. He started Sea Explorer Scout Group 38 using his schooner, Gallons Lap. In 1976, they sailed to New York City, participating in the Tall Ships parade of sail for the Bi-Centennial, representing Virginia. His dedication to Boy Scouts from 1973 to 1985 was recognized with the Silver Beaver award. In 1985, he became the captain of the Godspeed, sailing from England to the US. After retirement he had a 42-foot ketch which he and Betty sailed and lived on for 6 years. They settled in Middlesex County. George became a docent at the Deltaville Maritime Museum. He is survived by his wife and 3 children, George C. Salley Jr., W. Bryan Salley and K. Elizabeth Salley Vittone; his 5 grandchildren, Alex, Jessica and Hannah Salley; Fauster and Kate Vittone. He was preceded in death by his parents Dr. William Callier Salley and Katherine Galloway Batts Salley. George's loyal companion, Clyde the cat, was with him to the last. A memorial service will be held at Kingston Parish Church, Matthews, VA on November 23 at 11 a.m.


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Another obituary http://www.ssentinel.com/index.php/obituaries/article/george_c_salley, basically similar to the first, includes a picture and this sentence:


"Among his other interests, he learned the concertina, joined a Sea Shanty Group, edited a magazine for concertinas and recorded a Sea Songs album."


A look at some of his concertinas appear in an 2003 article by him on this site:





George loomed large in the American revival of the concertina, at least from my belated perspective. I communicated with him only a few times, once buying a few concertina records from him. He was in poor health recently. Fair winds and following seas, George.

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  • 2 weeks later...

post-7182-0-36241800-1367928488_thumb.jpg Dan, thank you very much for this post. I'm the fortunate purchaser of the Dipper Shantyman F/C. Not sure when winter is for you (when you say you saw it come up for sale last winter) it was July 2012 when I purchased the Shantyman. I'm thrilled to learn some of the provenance of the instrument. I've typed it into a word document, printed it and it is folded inside the concertina case, for the next owner to read (once I've passed on that is!)




I love the Shantyman, it is a sublime pleasure to play it. I'll never willingly part with it, but wouldn't mind anybody else playing it, especially if they are better than me - which would be most players, I'm not particularly good, merely able to spring for the purchase of a nice instrument.


I've attached a couple of photos of the Shantyman at its new home in the southern hemisphere (well, just in the southern hemisphere, I'm only a few degrees south).


The photo in the first comment (when I was still learning how to add photos) and one of these is of the concertina being admired by a stuffed local animal in the pub, and one of it adorning a statue of another local animal (I sometimes sit on the turtle head & play).


The concertina is very much appreciated, and when I'm gone, it will be sold - hopefully to someone who also very much appreciates it.



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Thanks for the photos. Happy to see that someone owns it who appreciates it. He had that instrument specially built with lots of discussion with Colin Dipper, so doubtlessly there is a lot of Salley in that concertina. Any chance you could post a photo of the inscriptions on the endplates?


The sale date clears up one thing. If you bought it last July, then it was George Salley who sold it, not one of his family afterwards. The latter would make me a bit sad....but if GS was selling it, it meant that he wanted someone else to enjoy it. Concertina playing probably skips generations!

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Ah, yes, those endplates are beautiful. The left hand side says something like "Made especially for Capt Geo Salley, Gloucester Pt. Virginia" and the other side has a lovely engraving of a galleon approaching land, with the word "Godspeed" curved along the margin.

I'll be pleased to post a photo of them, I'll be home in hopefully a few days, & able to do it then.




Meantime here's all the rest of the photos I have of it. The last one is the national anthem of the USA being played, the day this thread was started. It plays beautifully on this particular concertina. Perhaps an appropriate tune for the occassion. (Though I know the tune by its former name, and use the lyrics that preceded its reincarnation as a national anthem).

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