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Somebody on another thread brought up the name, Nick Robertshaw, who I had never heard of.

I began polking around and found a site dedicated to remembering him and his music.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKncQPQYAQ_XtYHrv-hr4dA

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Noel Ways said:

Somebody on another thread brought up the name, Nick Robertshaw, who I had never heard of.

I began polking around and found a site dedicated to remembering him and his music.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKncQPQYAQ_XtYHrv-hr4dA

 

Nick was the longtime musician for and foreman of the Foggy Bottom Morris Men in Washington, DC.  I got to hear his playing for years when I was musician for another local group; when that group folded, I joined Foggy Bottom and played with Nick for a couple of years before his untimely death.  Although I play Anglo and he played Jeffries duet, his style had a huge impact on my own playing.  Foggy Bottom still does some of the dances he introduced, and when I play them, it's his concertina's voice that I hear in my head.   

 

He was a larger than life character - an incredible presence in any pub and a dominant force at any Morris gathering.  Among the many songs he wrote and sang was Beer that Tastes Like Beer,"  which has become a standard among American Morris groups and has worked its way to the UK and beyond.

 

Nick's playing style was energetic and creative; he didn't believe in many of the conventions that can make Morris music uninteresting to listeners.  I remember an English musician sternly lecturing me that 7th chords are never appropriate in Morris music. I told Nick, who used 7ths with abandon, and his reply was pretty much unprintable.

 

Nick had 3 Jeffries duets; his primary instrument was one he bought in the early 70s, I believe, at a London pawnshop for something like 70 pounds. He took it to Colin Dipper and told him he wanted the loudest concertina in the world.  Dipper, I believe, must have taken that to heart; you could hear Nick blocks away.  

 

Here's the Wiki created after his death, with a link to his one semi-formal recording, "A Night with Big Nick."

 

http://rememberbignick.pbworks.com/w/page/10496936/FrontPage

 

Here's a great example of his playing:  

 

Here's Nick doing his creative version of Princess Royal;; his son Thomas is one of the dancers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Jim Besser
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