Jump to content

Wayfaring Stranger, as learned from a Cornish Hobo


soloduet
 Share

Recommended Posts

In this video I talk about my unexpected encounter with the Spirit of a Cornish Hobo during the lockdown, and how He tried to play on my own concertina. I also give a tip that can work for all systems concertina players, in order to be sure to identify the Spirit of a Cornish Hobo if you happen to meet One:

 

https://youtu.be/bhyhfjmFbdQ

 

 

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hauntingly beautiful.  As a railway worker for 37 years I had many encounters.  One stands out:  A young fellow late in November knocking dirty icicles from beneath a boxcar into an old soup can to make coffee.  I asked if it wasn't late to be heading south.  He politely informed me he was headed for Bangor, Maine!  There's a song there for sure...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting (and a fine performance!). Your story is reminiscent of Giuseppe Tartini (1692–1770) and his story of how he wrote his “Devil’s Trill” violin sonata.

 

Quote

One night, in the year 1713 I dreamed I had made a pact with the devil for my soul. Everything went as I wished: my new servant anticipated my every desire. Among other things, I gave him my violin to see if he could play. How great was my astonishment on hearing a sonata so wonderful and so beautiful, played with such great art and intelligence, as I had never even conceived in my boldest flights of fantasy. I felt enraptured, transported, enchanted: my breath failed me, and I awoke. I immediately grasped my violin in order to retain, in part at least, the impression of my dream. In vain! The music which I at this time composed is indeed the best that I ever wrote, and I still call it the “Devil’s Trill”, but the difference between it and that which so moved me is so great that I would have destroyed my instrument and have said farewell to music forever if it had been possible for me to live without the enjoyment it affords me.

 

[Aside: I wonder whether the Devil might have been playing a sonata by Beethoven, who was born (250 years ago next week) the year Tartini died.]

 

Did European migrant farmworkers actually call themselves “Hobos”? The word originated in the USA in the late 19th century.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/6/2020 at 1:38 PM, wunks said:

Hauntingly beautiful.  As a railway worker for 37 years I had many encounters.  One stands out:  A young fellow late in November knocking dirty icicles from beneath a boxcar into an old soup can to make coffee.  I asked if it wasn't late to be heading south.  He politely informed me he was headed for Bangor, Maine!  There's a song there for sure...

Thank you Wunks, this memory is very moving! I wish this man could also play concertina like the Cornish Hobos.

And after reading your comment I wonder if somebody like you, concertina player with a long railway worker experience, could be a possible Jack Chantegril? Well, even if you are him or not the book "When the River still Ran" could be a nice Xmas present to any concertina player interested in the Cornish Hobos and the Railway musicians...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/6/2020 at 2:40 PM, David Barnert said:

Interesting (and a fine performance!). Your story is reminiscent of Giuseppe Tartini (1692–1770) and his story of how he wrote his “Devil’s Trill” violin sonata

Wow, thank you David, the parallel with the story of Tartini is interesting although a little too big! But I see at least 2 differences between the 2 stories: Tartini was dreaming, so his story is the result of his nocturnal imagination, a kind of fiction. In my case I was fully awake when it happened and I didn't have taken any product that could have reduce my lucidity. So it's just the difference between fiction and reality. The other point is that I have never had a servant, even in my dreams.

 

On 12/6/2020 at 2:40 PM, David Barnert said:

Did European migrant farmworkers actually call themselves “Hobos”? The word originated in the USA in the late 19th century.

I don't know if english speaking people still use this word in Europe, but thank you also to clarify the meaning. That's too bad that we can't have the opinion of Jack Chantegril on the subject but what I feel is it could be some differences between the use of this word in USA and Cornwall. It's just my humble opinion but maybe the Cornish Hobo could be a little closer to the tramp, but the BIG difference with a tramp is of course that the Cornish Hobo can play concertina!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you very much Daniel and Welcome Isra to the fan club of Cornish concertina blues!

On 12/7/2020 at 8:21 AM, Isel said:

The repetitive bass line in the middle part does sound wonderfully intriguing to me. 

Maybe the balance between the bass line and the melody is more audible on this other video because I was just in front of the mic:

https://youtu.be/VaS_F8etuxA

 

Actually for this bass line I was inspired by this wonderful video sent to me by a concertinist called Zach (maybe he is a member here?). As him I think that it is the best rendition of this tune after the one that I heard from the Cornish Hobo:

https://youtu.be/b1Z4PAZX9Bs

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, soloduet said:

Thank you Wunks, this memory is very moving! I wish this man could also play concertina like the Cornish Hobos.

And after reading your comment I wonder if somebody like you, concertina player with a long railway worker experience, could be a possible Jack Chantegril? Well, even if you are him or not the book "When the River still Ran" could be a nice Xmas present to any concertina player interested in the Cornish Hobos and the Railway musicians...

I've never heard of this Chantegril fellow but he sounds like a kindred spirit.  Interestingly, your video and my little story prompted a song to pop into my head.  I'll share it with you if I can pull it all together😊

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, soloduet said:

Actually for this bass line I was inspired by this wonderful video sent to me by a concertinist called Zach (maybe he is a member here?). As him I think that it is the best rendition of this tune after the one that I heard from the Cornish Hobo:

https://youtu.be/b1Z4PAZX9Bs

 

And this video in turn brings to mind the performance by Bob Gibson that I have been familiar with since I was a kid in the 1960s (maybe it’s just the banjo, albeit played very differently).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/9/2020 at 12:05 PM, soloduet said:

Actually for this bass line I was inspired by this wonderful video sent to me by a concertinist called Zach (maybe he is a member here?). As him I think that it is the best rendition of this tune after the one that I heard from the Cornish Hobo:

https://youtu.be/b1Z4PAZX9Bs

 

The more I hear it, the more I like it😄

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

A great rendition as always, love your arrangements! That tune is great and works in many rhythms... Among the faster takes my favorite version is this one : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2lM1ISyNeo

 

By the way, I wanted to listen to your version of Brassens's "La Marine" the other day, but couldn't find it anymore on youtube - did you get it removed?

Edited by ritonmousquetaire
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Ritonmousquetaire, it's always very  interesting to listen to your comments and musical recommendations!

 

Yes I removed the public access to my video of La Marine because at that time I wasn't really satisfied with the sound of the recording. Maybe because I recorded the video in my boat on the Marne river to be in the mood of the tune, but as it's quite tiny it sounds a little harsh aboard, even if I tried to correct it with the mics. But for you and the fans of George Brassens here is the link:

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...