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Richard Carlin

Alf Edwards Recordings Sold On Ebay

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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

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I've been meaning to make a similar request.

Thanks, Richard, for beating me to it.

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I sent the following message to the seller on 24 November.

Quote:

We would however, be interested in knowing more about the history of the

recordings. Alf Edwards was a prominent member of the Association in his day.

We would be interested in and grateful for any historical information which you could

make available to us.

 

Also, if your buyer is interested perhaps you could pass on my details as well.

end-quote

 

 

There is no reply so far.

 

- John Wild

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I have some original Alf Edwards recordings made when I think he was playing with The Haymakers Country Dance Band in the 1950'2.They were made by the BBC so I presume they are recordings of actual broadcasts.These were left to me following the death my good friend Harry Hatton of Haydock,Lancashire the great concertina enthusiast.I would gladly make them available, subject to the consent of the copyright holder being obtained(I presume this would be the BBC.

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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

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The more I think about this sale the more interesting it becomes.Thinking aloud.

The ICA, correctly so, had to advise all it`s members of their intention to bid for these rare recordings.I may be completely wrong but any person or dealer looking for an investment or possible future sale of recordings from these old archives would see this as a good deal.Not only does he or she finish up with the recordings, but knows exactly their value to the ICA from the under bid.If this is the case then it is hardly surprising that the ICA are getting no response from the purchaser,who would at this moment be keeping their head down.

Al

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I may be completely wrong but any person or dealer looking for an investment or possible future sale of recordings from these old archives would see this as a good deal.Not only does he or she finish up with the recordings, but knows exactly their value to the ICA from the under bid.

Al,

 

Actually you would be wrong, because the under bid, of £166.66, was mine. I already have a couple of 78rpm recordings of Alf and wanted to add these to them, but I was put off bidding more because of uncertainty about just what was on them, and about how well they might play. However, I now wish I had bid substantially more . . .

 

By the way, I only met Alf and heard him play live on one occasion, and that was in his Kensington flat. Former Secretary of the ICA, Jim Harvey, took me along one night when Alf and his Kensington Quartet were practicing, and I remember being amazed by their playing of a Classical (Mozart or Haydn) String Quartet on their concertinas. A treasured memory.

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Thanks for the info Stephen,that knocks that theory on the head.

I expect the real truth and owner will surface eventually.

Al

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but knows exactly their value to the ICA from the under bid.

Unfortunately, the ICA was left well behind in the bidding, which, probably due to the process of sniping, accelerated very rapidly in the last 2 minutes.

 

- John

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Unfortunately, the ICA was left well behind in the bidding, which, probably due to the process of sniping, accelerated very rapidly in the last 2 minutes.

That acceleration would be pretty normal on anything at all desirable on eBay, even when there are no snipes on an item, many people leave it to the last minute to bid, just as they do in terrestrial auctions. But such tactics are easily defeated if someone is prepared to pay enough to buy what they want and they leave a high enough bid in the first place.

 

My snipe was defeated by another one, for a higher amount, that came in one second ahead of mine. I am now annoyed with myself for not having the confidence to bid more, not the other party for sniping higher.

 

By the way, I have my suspicions as to their identity, but I'm not going to discuss that here.

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By the way, I only met Alf and heard him play live on one occasion, and that was in his Kensington flat. Former Secretary of the ICA, Jim Harvey, took me along one night when Alf and his Kensington Quartet were practicing, and I remember being amazed by their playing of a Classical (Mozart or Haydn) String Quartet on their concertinas. A treasured memory.

Jim Harvey was a very keen recorder of concertina music, and the ICA is lucky enough to have rediscovered around 3 hours of these tapes via one of our c.net members. We don't have any idea of who the recordings are of - although Jim's son Maurice probably features in a few - but they include classical and popular items played by solo and concerted players. I've only just started transcribing the tapes to CD, and they will require further processing to improve their quality, but perhaps the ICA may be able to revive some of your memories in the future.

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I was lucky enough to have befriended Jim during my membership of the ICA and actually heard some of Jim`s recordings.I also met his son Maurice who suffered from the after effects of polio.Maurice was an excellent duet player and formed part of the band, but sadly after his unfortunate illness decided to switch to the guitar.

I stopped visiting Jim, owing to the fact that I lived then in Crawley, after moving from London and my job required many trips to Blackburn , so sadly our friendship wained .An IRA bomb went off just around the corner from where he lived outside the Chelsea Barracks, but it was far enough away as not to cause damage.Jim had a lovely collection of concertinas Duets and anglos and I never forget him proudly showing me a biscuit tin full of spare concertina reeds.A regular visitor to the ICA then was Tommy Williams ( Springtime in Battersea) who lived just over Chelsea Bridge about a mile away from Jim.

Both great characters and sadly missed.

Al

Edited by Alan Day

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Jim had a lovely collection of concertinas Duets and anglos and I never forget him proudly showing me a biscuit tin full of spare concertina reeds.

He proudly displayed "the biggest concertina in the world" on his sideboard, an enormous triple-reeded Wheatstone aeola Maccann duet that somebody had had made but (not surprisingly) found unplayable. It seems that Tommy Williams had already cannibalised it for the reeds.

 

He also showed me a "saxophone aeola" with louvred aluminium ends, that had been made for Alf Edwards, which he was selling.

 

A regular visitor to the ICA then was Tommy Williams ( Springtime in Battersea) who lived just over Chelsea Bridge about a mile away from Jim.

Both great characters and sadly missed.

I first met Jim, quite by chance, whilst crossing Chelsea Bridge to go and meet Tommy Williams. He was out walking his Alsation dog and saw me coming towards him with a concertina case in each hand, the encounter was written up for the ICA Newsletter at the time.

 

Jim Harvey was a very keen recorder of concertina music

And Tommy Williams loved tinkering with tape recorders too, I have memories of his large room with bare floorboards, at the top of a house in Tennyson Street, strewn with partly-dismantled concertinas and tape recorders.

 

Jim's son Maurice probably features in a few

I only met Maurice once, at Jim's, but at that stage he had already given up playing the concertina. However, Maurice's concertina playing, and the tapes he had of it, was still very much Jim's pride and joy.

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It is a small world Stephen for if you had walked on from Tommy`s house for another ten minutes, you may have met me as I lived at the Battersea end of The Chase.

I called on Tommy many times and I never got an answer.I can still remember the little cracked and peeling painted wooden plaque outside his door.I think it said T. Williams concertina repairer and restorer but there was very little of the wording left.

Al

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I haven't yet come across the account of Stephen's meeting with Jim, but I've recently scanned a few Newsletters more and found this in No 251 (Sept 1977):

 

The July Meeting

This was held on July 30th at the Conway Hall. I have no count of the number of members present, but there were at least fifteen. We opened with concerted music:- the Minuet and Trio from Haydn's Surprise Symphony, and Heart's Ease by MacBeth.

 

First soloist was Michael Kruger from Sydney, Australia, who played a large fragment of the Rondo a la Turque by Mozart (unless my memory is going), and then a small piece of 'Tina Polka by Alf Edwards.

 

Alan Day, another newcomer, played Planxty Irwin and Monks March. I think the second had more to do with General Monk than a religious.

 

Next, making a welcome return, was Richard Carlin from the States, and he played Banks Hornpipe, and the Poppy Leaf Hornpipe. I think Richard is over here on a study visit, and will be around for a few months at least.

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I haven't yet come across the account of Stephen's meeting with Jim

Wes,

 

It would probably have been in the spring of 1973 and I was a student on fieldwork at the Central Music Library, Westminster, just up the road from Jim's house, at the time.

 

One of the concertinas I was carrying was a metal-ended 36-key Lachenal anglo, #188907, that I had bought in Manchester for £17.50 (quite a decent price then, Hohner melodeons cost as much) and I wanted Tommy to retune it, to concert pitch, for me. He charged me very little but it was awful, it went from being more or less in tune at high pitch, to being completely out of tune in concert pitch. It was so bad that I had to take it to Crabb's only a week later, and get them to sort it out.

 

I still have Crabb's bill for the retuning, which cost £11.00, dated 19th April 1973. Also their quotation of £132.00 for a new octagonal English, which I think I probably got the day I left the anglo with them, it is dated 6th April 1973.

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Thank you for that memory Wes .I can remember to this day waiting in that hall for my turn to play after listening to all those wonderful players. I can tell even by my selection that I erred on the side of caution.A few meetings later I played a French Bouree and I was so nervous I played an already fast peice double the speed and in Jim`s words when I left the stage "Thank you Alan I cannot remember anybody attending these meetings that has ever played a concertina so fast" and many members mumbled their agreement to this carefully selected sentence.All good experience,I think.

Al :blink:

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It would probably have been in the spring of 1973 and I was a student on fieldwork at the Central Music Library, Westminster, just up the road from Jim's house, at the time.

Ah, so its something I'm likely to discover on my next photocopying trip. I didn't manage to copy all the Newsletters held at the Horniman, and after a whole day at the copier (and £35 lighter, so about 700 pages) I still had roughly 40 to do from No 180 to 220. No 204 was Jan 1973, and 214 Jan 1974.

 

Alan - that issue, and some from around the same period, will be posted up in the ICA members private area soon. Hope you find some other memories.

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