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Lyr Req: The Concertina Man (Alan Bell)

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KEITH HIGHAM 04 Aug 04 - 11:14 AM
Jim Dixon 08 Aug 04 - 04:59 PM
GUEST,kab 09 Aug 04 - 11:27 AM
Ross Campbell 07 Dec 07 - 07:21 PM
Charley Noble 07 Dec 07 - 10:04 PM
s&r 08 Dec 07 - 02:31 AM
Fidjit 08 Dec 07 - 04:31 AM
Fidjit 08 Dec 07 - 04:46 AM
Fidjit 08 Dec 07 - 05:57 AM
SqueezeMe 08 Dec 07 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Bob A. 08 Dec 07 - 01:56 PM
s&r 10 Dec 07 - 04:00 AM
quantock 10 Dec 07 - 02:30 PM
Ross Campbell 12 Dec 07 - 02:00 PM
Charley Noble 13 Dec 07 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,SAILORON 14 Dec 07 - 11:26 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: THE CONCERTINA MAN
From: KEITH HIGHAM
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 11:14 AM

LYRICS/CHORDS FOR ALAN BELL SONG THE CONCERTINA MAN ALSO BACKGROUND INFO. PLEASE


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Concertina Man
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Aug 04 - 04:59 PM

This site says THE CONCERTINA MAN was written about Joe Maley. That's all I was able to find.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Concertina Man
From: GUEST,kab
Date: 09 Aug 04 - 11:27 AM

Joe Maley turned up several times at Blackpool folk club and sat quietly at the back listening and watching i believe.It was quite some time before it emerged that he was a music-hall star of yesteryear living in retirement in the Blackpool area.
After some coaxing he did take his concertina along at first,.almost apologetically.He played it in virtuoso style many times at the club thereafter so I understand.His stage name was "The Concertina Man".
The words to this and many other of Alan Bell's songs are available in a songbook that may be obtained from Alan himself, whose address is 55,The Strand,Rossall,Fleetwood,Fylde,Lancashire.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Concertina Man
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 07 Dec 07 - 07:21 PM

Joe Maley's stage name was in fact "Jack Easy - the Musical Midshipman". Originally from Glasgow, he and his wife Liz retired to Fleetwood, Lancashire in the early '70s, after a long career in music hall and variety. He suffered a stroke shortly after that, and, unable to play, he and the family decided to dispose of his precious concertinas (some of them novelty items - one of them had a slider adaptation in the middle of the bellows so that it could be split apart in mid-tune - and continue playing!). Liz nursed him at home in Abbotts Walk for a long time and eventually he regained mobility and speech. In September 1977 Neil Wayne and Alistair Anderson were invited to the Fylde Folk Festival to present a "Concertina Consciousness" workshop in the Mount Hotel, across the road from Joe and Liz's cottage. Curiosity brought Joe and Liz to the meeting, in the course of which Alistair Anderson picked up that Joe knew a fair bit about concertinas and how to get the best out of the instrument. Alistair asked if he wouldn't mind demonstrating for the gathering. At first Joe was reluctant, as he didn't have his own preferred concertina any more (a fifty-six key English, extended down), while Liz was afraid he would make a fool of himself by not being able to get his fingers to work. However, somebody in the audience provided the right instrument, and Joe proceeded to dazzle everybody with a selection of tunes. Local folk club organizer Ron Baxter was in the room and made a point of introducing himself after the workshop had finished. A few days later, Ron arrived on Joe and Liz's doorstep with a concertina borrowed from Fylde Folk Festival organizer Alan Bell. Joe quickly recovered his full playing ability and started coming along to the old Fleetwood Folk Club at the Queens Hotel. In November, 1977 (the day after the flood, for anyone who remembers that) I drove Joe down to Haydock (at the invitation of Keith Higham, the instigator of this thread, and the guy who sold me my C/G Crabb concertina for £105! - sorry for delay, Keith I've only just found the request) to a Concertina Convention run by an ex-miner called Harry Hatton. Harry knew of Joe Maley under his stage name of Jack Easy. He had been trying to track Joe down for years and was thrilled to meet him at last. In Harry's estimation, Joe was the best player he had ever heard. While there were some very talented players at that meeting, including a couple of blazered gentlemen who played anglo in a style almost identical in smoothness and musicality to Joe's, it was Joe's playing that stood out.

Joe generously contributed his time and music to the local folk scene in Blackpool and Fleetwood over the next few years, and even travelled around the North West tp play in variety concerts revived by a local entrepreneur. Alan Bell introduced the Jack Easy Music Hall and Palace of Varieties as a regular event at Fylde, and Joe performed at these concerts till his death.

In the winter of 1978, I taped an evening of music, talk and stories at Joe and Liz's home, and recently managed to transfer that material to CD-R form. Stuart Eydmann of Edinburgh mentions Joe in his PhD thesis The Life and Times of the Concertina (can be found on concertina.net) and he intends to include a couple of Joe's tunes from the tapes at www.raretunes.org
(I tried blue clicky, but it keeps putting mudcat in front and the test gets result 404 not found.)

Joe was indeed a virtuoso of the English concertina. He thought, as I do, that the expression "Good enough for Folk" was an insult to both the audience and whoever came out with it, but he never let the standards he expected of himself get in the way of a warmth and generosity that were extended to any and all who were willing to learn. Joe and Liz's hospitality remains a warm memory to many who accompanied Joe home after a night at the Folk Club. Liz would immediately have a cup of tea ready, often followed later by bacon, egg and chips (she and Joe had acquired the habit of eating late from years in travelling shows, when the main meal in theatrical "digs" would be provided after the last show of the night).

Alan Bell wrote the song "The Concertina Man" about Joe's life and times, and the drive to entertain that sustained him and many like him. The words are available in the Alan Bell Songbook. I have contacted Alan and he has promised to send me a set of the lyrics to post here. At the moment I'm not sure if I can provide the music.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Concertina Man
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Dec 07 - 10:04 PM

Ross-

This is exactly the kind of post I treasure on Mudcat.

Thanks!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Concertina Man
From: s&r
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 02:31 AM

Ross - if Alan hasn't got the dots, I have

Stu


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Concertina Man
From: Fidjit
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 04:31 AM

Ah thanks Ross. I'll check out the other site.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Concertina Man
From: Fidjit
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 04:46 AM

Here he is

Jack Easy

Chas


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Concertina Man
From: Fidjit
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 05:57 AM

So back to the original thread.

Where are the Lyrics to the Concertina Man?

Chas


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Concertina Man
From: SqueezeMe
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 08:35 AM

And, slightly off topic, any one know what has become of my old friend Keith Higham?

MC
(Malcolm in Oz)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Concertina Man
From: GUEST,Bob A.
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 01:56 PM

I also have the dots if there is any problem.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE CONCERTINA MAN (Alan Bell)
From: s&r
Date: 10 Dec 07 - 04:00 AM

I sent this again cos the formatting went funny.

Come I'd like to tell you of a man I knew
For he played the concertina as very few could do
His name was Joe Maley born with music in his hands
That's why they call him 'The Concertina Man'

Cho.
In the hall of fame we will write the name
of the entertainer, the concertina man
For wwe sang along as we played his songs
Always entertaining, the Concertina Man

As a boy he wandered through the streets at night
Close by the stage door near the old gas light
When he heard the band play for the curtain call
That's when he vowed to be the very best of all

Cho

To Joe the theatre was the spice of life
*
Now sadly that's over the showman's days are done
His fingers still at last but the band plays on

Cho

*appears to be a missing line in the Alan Bell Songbook

Stu


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Concertina Man
From: quantock
Date: 10 Dec 07 - 02:30 PM

Great song, great story. This is definitely a song I would like to learn also. I do hope someone is able to supply the missing line and the tune.

I've been a member of Mudcat for about 5 years, but I wasn't active until very recently. Mostly, I just used the song database. I have now realised the error of my ways. This forum is a wonderful place to be.

I hope you all have a wonderful time over the coming holiday season and look forward to more fascinating threads like this one.

Cheers,
Rob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Concertina Man
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 02:00 PM

Alan Bell has supplied a photocopy of the relevant page from the songbook, containing the dots and lyrics for "The Concertina Man" which he wrote in February 1980, just after Joe's death. I have passed the page on to Dick Greenhaus, so the notes may appear eventually. Alan also supplied the missing line which Rusty and Stu noted in their transcription (above) from the songbook. The last verse should read:-

"To Joe the theatre was, the very spice of liife,
For he loved Variety, touring with his wife.
Now sadly, that's over, the showman's days are done,
His fingers still at last, but his band plays on."

Joe's wife Liz and her cousin (Mary?) had a "sisters" dance act, so were often able to play on the same bill as Joe, who would prepare and score music for their routines. Joe and Liz worked all over the UK and Ireland, playing in theatres of all sizes, village halls and even tents – for some years in the fifties Joe organized travelling shows to tour villages and small towns in the West of Ireland. Local priests would organize a field for the tent and accommodation for the artistes. Profits would be shared between the parish and the company. In Ireland Joe made broadcasts with RTE and performed before President de Valera. Joe and Liz also worked with the late Calum Kennedy and others, touring similar shows round rural Scotland. Members of the Logan family (Scotland's "Royal Family" of the theatre) were occasional visitors to the Maley home in Fleetwood. Joe and Liz were well-respected throughout the business.

In 1980 Joe suffered another stroke and died a few days later. His funeral was attended by many members of the local folk scene as well as large numbers of friends and family from Fleetwood and beyond. Liz stayed on in Fleetwood for a while and it is through her good offices that I now live along the row from their old home in Abbotts Walk. Their son, Father Joe Maley, took her to see the Pope on his visit to the UK and Frank and his family took her with them on a trip to Disneyland. While she thoroughly enjoyed these trips and still had many visitors, she grew very lonely without Joe and eventually decided to move back to Glasgow to stay with her cousins in Duke Street. I visited her there several times, but we lost touch when she moved into her own flat nearby. By the time I traced her whereabouts, she had passed away.

Here's to you, Joe and Liz.

Ross


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Concertina Man
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Dec 07 - 09:25 AM

Ross-

There are various ways that we can remember or even commemorate our mentors:

We sing their songs and tell stories about them

We start a perma thread on Mudcat

We set up a website in their name

We establish an endowment fund at an appropriate performing arts center in their name

Or all of the above.

I have helped do the same with my old neighbors and mentors, Bill and Gene Bonyun.

Others have done the same for Stan Hugill: Click here for website!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Concertina Man
From: GUEST,SAILORON
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 11:26 AM

Like Ross I have many fond memories of Joe Maley, a warm friendly man with, when he wanted to use it, a wicked sence of humour. Ross has mentioned his skill as a musician, but he was also a great 'teller of tales' about the old music hall curcuit. One of my favourites was his story about the night he played concertina for a 'stripper'!
On one occasion at Fleetwood Folk club he told the guest [Pat Ryan] that she was singing in Bflat and a bit! {Joe used to close his concetrtina and 'finger' the tune that was being sung]. He could, and did,play standards, marches , blues, ragtime, classical,50s pop songs, hymns, folk, in fact anything he took a fancy too. When I think of Joe I can still hear him playing 'The Entertainer'...well that's what Joe was, God bless him.    Sailoron


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