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JimLucas

Songs About Concertinas

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Australian poet Henry Lawson in 1891 wrote "The Good Old Concertina", set to music by Bob Bolton and published in Concertina Magazine #16, page 6 (1986)

And for those without access to old copies of Concertina Magazine, here is what appears to be the same song posted on Mudcat.org by Bob Bolton

 

http://www.mudcat.or...did=11304#83321

 

Lyrics, MIDItest and ABC too. Oh, my!

 

Interesting. I took the poem and put it to music and added a verse. I also took the Australia out of it. I didn't know the original had its own tune. I'll have to compare them.

Edited by Paul Read

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I've scanned this thread and don't see any reference to "The Melodians (are coming)". If it's been mentioned, I apologize.

"I think I just saw one swallow a concertina whole."

I don't know where I found it. I thought from this site. I Googled it and came up with "Rivers of Babalon"... Band name?

Hilarious.

Now that's my kinda music!

Edited by drbones

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I recently saw a 78rpm on ebay by Charles Penrose named Laughing Lena with her Wheezing Concertina , with writing credits given to Percy Honri and Penrose's wife (Billie Gray). I rather hoped it would contain a long lost performance by Percy, but its only got an accordion on it. You can hear it on Utube

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Here's a few more bits & pieces:

 

A while ago I set that Henry Lawson poem "Good Old Concertina" to a trad. tune "Shearer's Lament" -- somewhat inaccurately in that I ran out of words before running out of tune -- therefore added this chorus to fill in the gap:

You idle blokes may make your jokes & call it constant screamer -- you can keep your string and your rattling things, give me the concertina.

 

There's also Brian Peter's "Accordion" -- it's a Robert Service poem Brian put to music & although it calls the instrument an accordion it may well mean an Anglo -- I gather there's a picture of RS somewhere clutching an Anglo.

 

There's also the tale of Trilby Tabitha Mewlina

 

Trilby Tabitha Mewlina

Played the German Concertina

Played it on the roofs at night

Which, of course, was hardly right

When a piercing note she drew

People woke at half-past two

And - which much increased their pain

Couldn't get to sleep again

 

Fifty cats with bushy tails

Must be practicing their scales

Groaned those people as they lay

Waiting for the dawn of day

They are wrong as you're aware

Only one small cat was there

Trilby Tabitha Mewlina with her German concertina

I've no idea where I got that from -- nor do I know of a tune.

 

Chris

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I recently saw a 78rpm on ebay by Charles Penrose named Laughing Lena with her Wheezing Concertina , with writing credits given to Percy Honri and Penrose's wife (Billie Gray). I rather hoped it would contain a long lost performance by Percy, but its only got an accordion on it. You can hear it on Utube

 

Now where have I heard that chorus before?? :lol:

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In the Manx (music hall era) song 'The Pride of Purt le Morrey' there are the lines:

 

No-one could be keener

I can play the concertina

And in Castletown they want me in the band

 

I am lead to belive that there was a concertina band in Castletown at one time, but I have no idea when or for how long.

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How can we not mention "Lena From Palesteena". I'd almost forgotten about it.

 

Eddie Cantor's version

 

PALESTEENA

(Lena From Palesteena)

Shimmy by J. Russel Robinson & Con Conrad

 

In the Bronx of New York City

Lived a girl, she's not so pretty

Lena is her name.

Such a clever girl is Lena

How she played her concertina

Really, it's a shame.

She's such a good musician

She got a swell position

To go across the sea to entertain.

And so they shipped poor Lena

Way out to Palesteena

From what they tell me, she don't look the same.

They say that Lena is the Queen o' Palesteena

Just because she plays the concertina.

She only knows one song,

She plays it all day long

Sometimes she plays it wrong,

But still they love it

What more of it

I heard her play once or twice.

Oh! Murder! Still, it was nice.

All the girls, they dress like Lena

Some wear oatmeal, some Farina

Down old Palesteena way.

 

Lena's girlfriend Arabella

Let her meet an Arab fella

Who she thought was grand.

On a camel's back a-swaying

You could hear Miss Lena playing

Over the desert sand.

She didn't know the new ones

All she knew were blue ones

And Yusef sat and listened all day long

(or: Till Yusef sat and listened in his tent)

And as he tried to kiss her

You heard that Arab whisper,

"Oh Lena, how I love to hear your song!"

(or: "Oh Lena, how I love your instrument!")

 

They say that Lena is the Queen o' Palesteena

'Cause she shakes a wicked concertina.

She plays it day and night

She plays with all her might

She never gets it right,

You think it's funny,

Gets her money.

There's nothin' sounds like it should.

So rotten, it's really good.

While the Arabs danced so gaily

She would practice aily-aily

Down old Palesteena way.

 

Lena, she's the Queen o' Palesteena

Goodness, how they love her concertina.

Each movement of her wrist

Just makes them shake and twist

They simply can't resist

How they love it

Want more of it.

When she squeeks

That squeeze-box stuff

All those sheiks

Just can't get enough.

She got fat as he got Lena

Pushing on her concertina

Down old Palesteena way.

 

And two others

Concertina - Roaring Lion

 

Harry Belafonte Angelina

 

Thanks

Leo

Edited by Leo

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And, while I'm at it...

 

I once made up my own verse & chorus (parody, with a little 'fair-use' borrowing from the original... blink.gif) for Down-Hearted Blues.

 

Here's Bessie Smith singing the original:

 

But here's my version (another PG-13, probably... just like that armadillo song, heheh...):

 

post-39-0-45092800-1310433818_thumb.jpg

 

I also wrote a parodized 'concertina song' version to another Bessie Smith song, where I rhyme 'meanah' and 'concertinah' but that one isn't so much about the concertina as is 'Down-Hearted Blues For Concertina Players.'

 

If you don't know or like the original blues/jazz song in the first place, of course, then my parody will seem not-so-hot.

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There is a cracking song that is sung by Martin Carthy about a Concertina being repaired with Mashed Potato or was it a Baked Potato?

Well it was actually about having a Wake before the man had died.

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There is a cracking song that is sung by Martin Carthy about a Concertina being repaired with Mashed Potato or was it a Baked Potato?

Well it was actually about having a Wake before the man had died.

Invitation to a Funeral
is the name I know it by.

Here's the relevant part in the version I sing:

Then we got a concertina for to make the high hilarity,

But none of us could play it, though we tried our best and worst.

We knocked a lot of noise from it, it that's of any consequence,

And we played on it so gently that the bellows it did burst.

 

Then we got some hot potatoes for to mend the concertina with,

When someone hit Maloney with the carcass of a cat....

I included that last line to show where and how the bit about the concertina ends. It doesn't reappear, but the song ends with

They marched us off to jail, and for me that's been a lesson:

I'll go no more to funerals unless the fellow dies.

And that gives me a handle to insert a quote I recently discovered in Sing Out! magazine, January 1966 (vol. 15, no. 6, p.38). They printed the song "Jean Harlow" by Leadbelly (Huddie Ledbetter). The quote is from Moses Asch, who said,

Leadbelly told me that at night in prison when thoughts turned to women, he composed this song. Since guitars were forbidden, he played it on the concertina.
Edited by JimLucas

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..............................I included that last line to show where and how the bit about the concertina ends. It doesn't reappear, but the song ends with

.................................They marched us off to jail, and for me that's been a lesson:

I'll go no more to funerals unless the fellow dies.

 

There's a really great new song by Paul Simon, 'The Afterlife,' a modern-day 'funny funeral' song, sort of... I don't buy a lot of CDs but I had to get this one. First line: 'After I died and the makeup had dried, I went back to my place...'

 

I don't really know how to make it fit on a concertina but if someone does, I'd love to hear it (the Paul Simon song).

 

................................And that gives me a handle to insert a quote I recently discovered in Sing Out! magazine, January 1966 (vol. 15, no. 6, p.38). They printed the song "Jean Harlow" by Leadbelly (Huddie Ledbetter). The quote is from Moses Asch, who said,

Leadbelly told me that at night in prison when thoughts turned to women, he composed this song. Since guitars were forbidden, he played it on the concertina.

 

In prison... concertinas were allowed? Crazy! Only thing I associate with prison & concertina is the concertina wire!

 

(I hope I got the quote boxes in my reply to look right.... I usually use 'fast reply,' much easier.)

 

Edit added:

Hmm. Seems it may have been a BOILED potato:

Lyrics

 

Edited by bellowbelle

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Hmm. Seems it may have been a BOILED potato:

Lyrics

As a little research on Mudcat, via Google, etc. will verify, there are many variant versions of the lyrics to this story. It could easily have originated either in music hall/vaudeville or as "a Dublin street song". Even if an original author is known, it has definitely become a part of the folk tradition. I don't even remember where I learned my version, and it has more lines than at least some of the others.

 

I learned "hot potato", but in order to make a pastey glue to mend a concertina bellows, I'm sure it was boiling that made it hot. ;)

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