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Lyr Add: Accordion (Robert Service)

DigiTrad:
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THE CREMATION OF SAM MCGEE
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McGrath of Harlow 26 Jan 07 - 07:39 PM
Joe Offer 26 Jan 07 - 08:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Jan 07 - 09:20 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Jan 07 - 09:29 PM
dick greenhaus 26 Jan 07 - 10:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jan 07 - 06:37 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 27 Jan 07 - 06:39 AM
Charley Noble 27 Jan 07 - 11:38 AM
Desert Dancer 27 Jan 07 - 11:58 AM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jan 07 - 12:08 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Jan 07 - 01:09 PM
Desert Dancer 27 Jan 07 - 04:55 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Jan 07 - 06:39 PM
GUEST 28 Jan 07 - 05:50 AM
Bob Bolton 28 Jan 07 - 05:53 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 28 Jan 07 - 02:17 PM
Bob Bolton 28 Jan 07 - 07:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jan 07 - 08:28 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: ACCORDION (Robert Service)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jan 07 - 07:39 PM

I found this on a page about famous people who played squeezeboxes (Celebrity Squeezers

Robert Service: ACCORDION

Some carol of the banjo, to its measure keeping time;
Of viol or of lute some make a song.
My battered old accordion, you're worthy of a rhyme,
You've been my friend and comforter so long.
Round half the world I've trotted you, a dozen years or more;
You've given heaps of people lots of fun;
You've set a host of happy feet a-tapping on the floor. . .
Alas! your dancing days are nearly done.

I've played you from the palm-belt to the suburbs of the Pole;
From the silver-tipped sierras to the sea.
The gay and gilded cabin and the grimy glory-hole
Have echoed to your impish melody.
I've hushed you in the dug-out when the trench was stiff with dead;
I've lulled you by the coral-laced lagoon;
I've packed you on a camel from the dung-fire on the bled,
To the hell-for-breakfast Mountains of the Moon.

I've ground you to the shanty men, a-whooping heel and toe,
And the hula-hula graces in the glade.
I've swung you in the igloo to the lousy Esquimau,
And the Haussa at a hundred in the shade.
The black man on the levee, and the Dinka by the Nile
Have shuffled to your insolent appeal.
I've rocked with glee the chimpanzee, and mocked the crocodile,
And shocked the pompous penguin and the seal.

I've set the yokels singingin a little Surrey pub,
Apaches swinging in a Belville bar.
I've played an obligato to the tom-tom's rub-a-dub,
And the throb of Andalusian guitar.
From the Horn to Honolulu, from the Cape to Kalamazoo,
From Wick to Wicklow, Samarkand to Spain,
You've roughed it with my kit-bag like a comrade tried and true...
Old pal! We'll never hit the trail again.

Oh I know you're cheap and vulgar, you're an instrumental crime.
In drawing-rooms you haven't got a show.
Your're a musical abortion, you're the voice of grit and grime,
You're the spokesman of the lowly and the low.
You're a democratic devel, you're the darling of the mob;
You're a wheezy, breezy blasted bit of glee.
You're the headache of the high-brow, you're the horror of the snob,
But you're worth your weight in ruddy gold to me.

For you've chided me in weakness and you've cheered me in defeat;
You've been an anodyne in hours of pain;
And when the slugging jolts of life have jarred me off my feet,
You've ragged me back into the ring again.
I'll never go to Heaven, for I know I am not fit,
The golden harps of harmony to swell;
But with asbestos bellows, if the devil will permit,
I'll swing you to the fork-tailed imps of Hell.

Yes, I'll hank you, and I'll spank you,
And I'll everlasting yank you
To the cinder-swinging satellites of Hell.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Robert Service : 'Accordion' poem
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jan 07 - 08:58 PM

I'm not sure I believed this one was really from Robert W., but it's in my copy of Collected Poems of Robert W. Service. It was in his Bar-Room Ballads book. I don't have a publication date, but I think it was the late 1930's.
Only difference from the post above was that the printed version had the so-called "n-word" instead of "black man."
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Robert Service : 'Accordion' poem
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Jan 07 - 09:20 PM

"Bar-Room Ballads" by Robert Service is on line
http://mochinet.com/poets/service/index.cgi?ListTitles=Bar-Room%20Ballads
Bar Room Ballads

The book index page is http://mochinet.com/poets/service/index.cgi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Robert Service : 'Accordion' poem
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Jan 07 - 09:29 PM

First editions of Bar Room Ballads were 1940. I see a copy of the 1st. Canadian is on offer for $217, very good condition with a chipped and worn dustjacket. U. S. 1st eds. cheaper.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Robert Service : 'Accordion' poem
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 26 Jan 07 - 10:08 PM

Brian Peters sings this one (very well, BTW). Says it's really a concertina being referred to.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Robert Service : 'Accordion' poem
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jan 07 - 06:37 AM

Quite possible - here he is playing a concertina.

Though I'd have thought he'd have known the difference - and it would have been just as easy to write "My battered concertina" as " My battered old accordion".

For anyone singing it, maybe "The brother on the levee" would work a bit better than "The black man on the levee", meaning the same And "the lousy Esquimau" might perhaps become "the rowdy Esquimau", since it's clearly a noisy party taking place.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Robert Service : 'Accordion' poem
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 27 Jan 07 - 06:39 AM

I learned the song from Paul Morris in Ontario, who sang it to the tune composed by the late David Parry of Ottawa. It's on David's "Man From Eldorado" album of Service poems set to music. I don't think he sings the verse about the "shanty man", and I wasn't even aware of it, so I didn't have to worry about the reference to the "black man".

Modesty doesn't prevent me mentioning that I recorded it on my "Anglophilia" CD.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Robert Service : 'Accordion' poem
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Jan 07 - 11:38 AM

Thanks for posting this one, and for the notes.

Reminds me that I should post sometime C. Fox Smith's nautical poem "Casey's Concertina" as adapted for singing by Bob Zentz.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Robert Service : 'Accordion' poem
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 27 Jan 07 - 11:58 AM

How is he playing that instrument with no straps at all?? ;-)

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Robert Service : 'Accordion' poem
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jan 07 - 12:08 PM

Looks as if he's very likely got thumb straps, as illustrated here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Robert Service : 'Accordion' poem
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jan 07 - 01:09 PM

Anglo concertinas have hand straps or thumb screw holders; they are small and portable, not needing the harnesses of the cumbersome, large accordion.

For descriptions of very fine concertinas, see www.concertinas.ca.
These are instruments to prize.
Concertina

There used to be many small, cheap 'squeeze boxes," made in Europe' and often needing mending.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Robert Service : 'Accordion' poem
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 27 Jan 07 - 04:55 PM

Umm, yeah, I play one myself. It's just an artifact of posing for a picture: his fingers are in an anglo pose -- but no wrist strap is visible. If it's English, I s'pose I might believe I can see a thumb strap (that he has his thumb quite well through), but he's not using (or got?) any pinky brace.

(No big deal, just an observation...)

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Robert Service : 'Accordion' poem
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jan 07 - 06:39 PM

Looks like he is just holding it for the photo, not playing it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Robert Service : 'Accordion' poem
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 07 - 05:50 AM

G'day,

Q,

After skipping past a few not-quite-errors, regarding the Anglo(-German) style of concertina (always wrist straps ... extremely rarely do the finger straps and 'pinky' stalls of the English system get grafted onto any but the largest and most complicated "Anglo")- I quickly decided Service is merely unconvincingly holding a cheap English-system concertina ... probably a Wheatstone or Lachenal "beginner grade" model ... and possibly a "prop" in the photographer's studio!

Service also wrote a poem about the 'humble' mouthorgan ... so he may well have been experienced in the "Richter tuning scheme" shared by the (vamper style) mouthorgan, the central 2 rows of the Anglo (and cheap German)concertina and the basic 1- or 2-row button accordion.

Typically, in Australia ... and, I'm sure, elsewhere ... kids learned on a cheap mouth organ and, if parents were willing to let them play Mum or Dad's button accordion - or 'Anglo' concertina - could quickly transfer the tunes they learned on the mouth organ to the bellows instruments.

Brian Peters:

Damn - When did that Anglophilia CD come out ... I can't see it in the "Brian Peters" area on my CD shelving! (Or is it your track on Alan Day's collection forthcoming collecion ... ?)

Charley Noble: Be reminded "... post sometime C. Fox Smith's nautical poem "Casey's Concertina" as adapted for singing by Bob Zentz.
"

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Robert Service : 'Accordion' poem
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 28 Jan 07 - 05:53 AM

Bob Bolton:
Be remonded to check ... after a few days away at rhe Illawarra Folk festival ... that the Mudcat hasn't munched your "cookie" ... !

Regard(les)s,

Bpb


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Robert Service : 'Accordion' poem
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 28 Jan 07 - 02:17 PM

>> I quickly decided Service is merely unconvincingly holding a cheap English-system concertina ... probably a Wheatstone or Lachenal "beginner grade" model ... and possibly a "prop" in the photographer's studio!

Typically, in Australia ... and, I'm sure, elsewhere ... kids learned on a cheap mouth organ and, if parents were willing to let them play Mum or Dad's button accordion - or 'Anglo' concertina - could quickly transfer the tunes they learned on the mouth organ to the bellows instruments. <<

Very interesting idea, Bob. Paul Morris told me he'd seen a photo of Service playing an Anglo (a suggestion I repeated in my own liner notes), but I've not been able to find anything apart from the one linked above, of the poet holding what seems to be an English. But if the photo is an irrelevance and his "accordion" was actually some kind of melodeon, it would explain that great verse about the "cheap and vulgar" instrument, which doesn't seem to me to describe accurately the more genteel English concertina.

>> Damn - When did that Anglophilia CD come out ... I can't see it in the "Brian Peters" area on my CD shelving! (Or is it your track on Alan Day's collection forthcoming collecion ... ?) <<

"Anglophilia" came out in Autumn 2005, around six months after my last tour in Oz. Since you've enquired, I hope it won't constitute naked commericalsm to point you here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Robert Service : 'Accordion' poem
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 28 Jan 07 - 07:48 PM

G'day Brian,

... Hmmm... It looks like I realign my pocketbook (after spending quite a lot on handmade whistles at last weekend's "Illawarra Folk Festival") ... and chase that one up from your web site (as well as the other CD I ought to have bought while you had it there in your hand!).

Anyone who would call your kind listing "naked commericalism" would have to be related to the cheap joke's Irish [or whoever your prejudice laughs at] Folkie ... "Well - he's only in it for the money!" ... Boom, Boom...!.

Regard(les)s,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Robert Service : 'Accordion' poem
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jan 07 - 08:28 PM

"naked commericalism" - that expression makes me think of Bill Nighy in Love Actually...


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