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Review: Boxing Clever: A Concertina Compilation

The Sandman 04 Jun 12 - 04:54 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Jun 12 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,Michael Hebbert 08 Jul 12 - 06:13 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Jul 12 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,Michael Hebbert 11 Jul 12 - 02:16 AM
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Subject: Boxing Clever
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jun 12 - 04:54 PM

Boxing Clever: A Concertina Compilation
Milestones 9904, no date given; circa 1999
John Kirkpatrick, Tim Laycock, Dick Miles, Harry Scurfield: concertinas; with Pauline Abbott (vocals) and John Wren (harmonica)

Review by Ken Coles, June 2001

Have you ever wondered what sort of music one should play (or can play) on a duet concertina? Or what English music hall songs sound like? Well, if you can't get to one of the big gatherings in the U.K. or the Squeeze-In in the U.S., this CD is a good way to find out. I was intrigued by a description of this album in the Summer 2000 flyer from The Button Box and recently bought a copy from them.

The tunes include examples from the "Classic Age" of the concertina (my term): "Pussyfoot March" (from Alexander Prince), "Put on Your Tat-ta" (a music hall song), "Impudence Schottische" (a dance tune). Other cuts include standards ("Until the Real Thing Comes Along"), blues, Irish dance tunes, and some recent compositions (the moving "Shiner" in honor of the late Andrew Edwards). This varied presentation comes from Tim Laycock (on Wheatstone Crane Duet), Harry Scurfield (G/D and C/G Dipper anglos), John Kirkpatrick (C/G Crabb anglo with baritone and bass anglos), and Dick Miles (Wheatstone English treble and Dickinson Hayden duet). I'm sure all the instruments are great, but it is amusing to see the it is the name Dipper that is always preceded by "miraculous" in the liner notes. Here's a challenge: Listen to the album without reading the notes and try to guess which tracks are duet, English, or anglo. You'll be surprised.

You'll hear more variety than on most albums by one artist. I find many of the tunes and songs charming and a nice change from what I've been working on with my own playing. Not all the selections will fit every taste. I don't care for the blues tracks, perhaps because I was immersed in traditional presentations of blues long before I ever came to concertina. If you are curious about Morris tunes (as I am), you'll find more to study on other albums. Nevertheless, many other classic and current styles are well demonstrated here.

This CD is a great introduction to what lies beyond fast dance tunes on anglo concertina -- give it a listen.

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Subject: RE: Boxing Clever
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Jun 12 - 04:28 PM

Talking about duets, Chris Sherburn and I were on our local Yorkshire tug in the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on Sunday morning waiting for orders to get under way. The boat tied to the same buoy on the next trot was called Stork. Suddenly I heard the the unmistakable sound of concertinas coming from the direction of said boat. It turns out Mike Hebbert and friend, both Jeffries duet players, were part of the entertainment on that boat. The friend was seemingly engineer on the Stork and I was engineer on the Wheldale. Now what's the chances, in over a thousand boats, of two anglo players being moored upto the same buoy as 2 duet players? Unfortunately we had come down by sea and daren't risk our boxes with the salt sea air and in such a risky venture. We also got moored in the lock next to them and we all got told off by the lock keeper for singing/playing and making too much noise while instructions were being given to manouevre. Slapped wrists!

You don't know the name of the other chap Mike knocks about with do you? He had a greying beard, thinnish chap.

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Subject: RE: Boxing Clever
From: GUEST,Michael Hebbert
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 06:13 PM

hi Steve
That was a great moment. The other guy was Greg Powlesland. He picked up his Jeffries duet forty years ago in San Francisco having sailed round the Horn on the replica 'Golden Hind'. It's a B flat instrument but he has an amazing ability to pick up tunes in any key. He's based near Helford in Cornwall and plays in some pubs round there.

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Subject: RE: Boxing Clever
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 09:28 AM

Hi Mike,
I really enjoyed the sing/play we had on Stork before and after the pageant. Engines and squeeze boxes seem to attract the same sort of people.

I can't think how I've seen Greg before him living 400 miles away, but he did look familiar.

We got the tug back home to Goole safely in one go, 44 hours. Chris's dad, Goff, was right, she took all the waves the N Sea could throw at us in her stride. What a wonderful experiance.....and the Pageant was good fun too. All that free booze courtesy of HM certainly helped.

Any chance you'll be at Whitby? It'd be nice to play some tunes together.

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Subject: RE: Boxing Clever
From: GUEST,Michael Hebbert
Date: 11 Jul 12 - 02:16 AM

Can't make Whitby this year Steve but hopefully next. Post-retirement there will be more time for squeezebox (& boats - they go well together despite that concern about concertina reeds afloat).

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