Leyland Accordion Club, Leyland, Lancashire, England.
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Leyland Accordion Club - 13th December 2000
I have been looking forward to this month's concert, as it's the first time in the club's history that I don't have to lift between 50 and 100 chairs, along with the tables, which we normally need for the coffee corner. I also had ten tables to set up for people to sit along the back of the room. These were always packed away in the cupboard at the back of the room. By the time I had the club set up and helped some of our members to bring their accordions up the stairs my arms were dropping off, playing was almost out of the question. Now I will have to find another excuse for my mistakes! Our new venue has fixed seating. Every chair is next to a table and, for the tea and coffee, we have our own kitchen with a serving hatch which opens into the main club room. You will be glad to know that I can once again serve you tea and coffee at 20p per cup rather than the £1.25 per cup we were forced to pay recently. Since the club started in 1997, I have seen giving everyone the chance to buy cheap hot drinks as an essential part of the service, we can now return to that luxury. If you have not renewed your membership don't forget, over Christmas I removed about 50 people from the mailing list, mainly people who had visited once or twice but have not been seen since. I also removed a small minority who were enjoying the newsletter but, each time their label said that it was their last free newsletter, because they had not visited the club or paid membership, rang me to say that they wanted to keep getting the newsletter and would post the £5 membership. The small number of those who did this but continually forgot to send anything as promised, were removed. By sending the newsletter to those of you who do pay the £5 membership, or who visit the club, I can give you a better service. I have many new ideas for the club and this move to the new premises should allow me to implement these new ideas, the first of which was the Saturday workshops which started in January. I have many more ideas which will make us a club with a reputation, a reputation for what I'm not sure but I am happy as long as we have a reputation for something J and I look forward to meeting you at our new venue on Wednesday.
Our December Concert
Our December concert started with Jay and Jeff ward playing
Yellow Bird - I must have been enjoying their playing because that's
all I wrote down even though I know they played a lot more than one
tune. The next player was Colin Ensor, who was pictured in the last
newsletter sitting on the stage enjoying himself. Colin started with
O'Sole Mio and Sunshine Of Your Smile. I had put Colin on early before
he managed to hide in the crowd hoping I would forget about him! Colin's
final two pieces were Someday and one of my favourites Charmaine. Bill
Agnew had the difficult job of following Colin but he managed it with
a change of style. Bill played a selection of singalongs and well known
tunes in a non-stop medley which set many a foot tapping. It was then
my turn to play. Usually, because we have more people playing than time
available, I go on nearer the end and just play one or two tunes at
the most. Recently I have had a couple of complaints that I don't play
enough! I was told to make sure I gave myself a spot at the club the
same as anyone else. Not to disappoint my fans I started with Sally
before making a bit of a mess of American Patrol and recovering with
Triste Sourire. To be fair to me, I have ignored the American Patrol
tune for ages and I was feeling a bit rusty on that one. I finished
with a song which is a favourite of David Rigby, so for him I sang Murphy
And The Bricks, this is also known as amongst other titles, The Bricklayers
Song. There are about ten verses to this song and I was later to find
out from David that I had been learning it and playing it from memory
but my original copy had a mistake in it. The first half of verse 6
had somehow been merged with the second half of verse seven and the
bits in-between were not on my copy. I later amended this by listening
to a CD and writing out the missing words the day before I was to sing
it again from memory, but that's another story. After my playing, it
was time for the first break of the night. There was a very good atmosphere
at the club despite the fact that we were in a room lit by harsh bright
lights and few comforts, almost clinical you might say. As usual it
was difficult to have to stop everyone having so much social intercourse.
I feel like a spoilsport when I have to end the breaks, but I had a
new player in the wings ready for his debut. Mirka Nicholson at age
11 had just joined the club that night and was playing on his first
visit to the club, an accomplishment I was quick to point out to a couple
of our club members who can play quite well but always leave their accordions
at home on concert nights! Mirka played two pieces on his Pigini button
accordion, the first piece was a russian song Katuscha followed by The
Train. Well done Mirka for a great performance, we are looking forward
to hearing more from you in future. Our next player was also a button
player, Chick Stephen, who was on great form, started with the Brendan
Shine number Do You Want Your Old Lobby Washed Down. The Irish theme
continued in Chick's playing with Black Velvet Band, When Irish Eyes
Are Smiling, Wild Rover and finally one of my favourites Slievenamore.
Basil Berry then took to the floor with I've Got You Under My Skin,
Man And A Woman, which he told us was the theme tune to a French film
which he knew not the title of. After playing Cavatina - the theme from
The Deer Hunter, Basil finished with Silent Night to give us a Christmas
feel to the night. It was time for another new player to the club, although
he has visited a few times, it was the first time we were to hear Eddie
Iddon. Eddie's first tune on his Hohner Midivox button accordion was
Valse Lyrique, after this fancy bit of fingerwork Eddie announced that
his "next piece is The Man I Love". Because I could not see
those capital letters when he was speaking, I asked Eddie if that was
a statement or a song title, he assured us that it was the title of
the tune! Eddie's final piece was Return To Sorrento and, when I heard
his version, I decided that it was a good idea that I had not played
my own version earlier! It was time for our second break of the night
followed by the raffle. After the break, we started with Alan Gelling
playing Lovely Stornaway, These Are My Mountains, Northern Lights Of
Aberdeen, Snow Waltz and Joechei. I had to ask the spelling of that
last tune. John Higham then played a traditional tune from Finland but
he did not have the title. We just had time to finish the night with
Eddie Iddon playing a Charles Magnante tune Pretty Baby, Andalucia and
Stardust followed by Bill Agnew playing a selection of Christmas tunes.
Everyone I spoke to said they had a great night and, as usual we had
a good relaxed atmosphere and some great playing from our local players.
Accordion World 2001
David Keen has sent me some subscription forms for Accordion World magazine which will be available at the club on Wednesday for those of you who do not subscribe to this publication. The annual subscription is £13.40 for six full colour glossy magazines posted to your door. If you are reading this newsletter on our website then you can telephone the editor David Keen on 01923 236880 to order your subscription.
Hohner Atlantic IV
Full size, 120 bass, in good condition for its age, 5 treble couplers, 3 base couplers, case, £405 or near offer. Telephone Andy on 01253 854174
Customers in a launderette in Hancock, Michigan in the USA were surprised when a naked man ran in and started playing the accordion while four of his college pals danced in their underwear. The authorities declined to prosecute the five lads for the prank, which was executed during their Freshers Week.
In December I again visited Ireland. When I arrive there, the first thing I do when reaching Dublin is to put my foot down and head out of Dublin for the West. The reason for this is that Dublin is like Liverpool but with an Irish Accent and I prefer peace and quiet to city life. The West of Ireland is a nice quiet place where you can relax and let your hair down. You may think I am joking but it is only about twelve years ago that I was using phone boxes over there that had little handles on the side of the phone where you cranked the handle and lifted the receiver to ask the operator to get you a number. I had to take a photograph of one of these because friends in England did not believe me. If the call was going to cost you £1.20 then the operator listened while you put ten pence pieces in a chute which led to a bell, when the operator had heard 12 coins hit the bell you were put through. In the last ten years, Ireland has seen enormous amounts of money from the EEC and from private enterprise, which has built some of the most modern hi-tech factories and companies around. If any of you are on the west coast of Ireland, you can always find live music around, but one pub which has live traditional Irish music seven days a week is Matt Molloys in Westport County Mayo. It's worth a visit if you are in the area, but be prepared to be squashed quite tightly in a small room with only just enough elbowroom for the players. If you are looking at getting an overload of music you have to find out when the Fleadh Choile is held. This annual music festival and many local Fleadh's are the places to find hundreds or thousands of musicians playing in competitions, playing in the streets or anywhere there is room to open a bellows or wave a bow around. The Fleadh in Ballina in 1999 had around 10,000 musicians in the town over five days. At the end of the trip I went to see Foster & Allen's recording studio and was given a guided tour by Tony Allen. When I saw the mixing desk I knew what I wanted for Christmas. The mix of tracks from the desk is recorded in an Apple Macintosh computer for later editing rather than on to conventional tape. It was interesting to see where the CD's I listen to were recorded. If you are travelling to Ireland from England the exchange rate is very good at the moment, £100 of Sterling currency buys you £125 in Punts (Irish Pounds). Fuel is cheaper than England at 64.5p per litre, and, with the conversion taken in to account, I was paying about 55p per litre instead of 80p I would have paid in England, a saving of over £1 per gallon, but a lot of goods such as CD's and magazines are dearer than in England. Ryanair, on their Internet website often have some spectacular special offers on their plane tickets, it's not difficult to get off peak return seats in the range of £1 to £9. Keep an eye on www.ryanair.com website for these and many other special offer tickets.
Accordion For Sale
Red Paolo Soprani, 2 voice, 8 bass keys, 3 Octave, button diatonic £550 or near offer. Telephone 0161 440 7379.
The Priory Club
I have been asked by quite a few people if I can let them have another map to The Priory Club, so I decided the best thing to do was to repeat the map in the newsletter. The above map has all the main routes to the club shown, you can see our old venues in the bottom left hand corner of the map. If you get lost then just ask directions to Broadfield Drive and then look for St Mary's Church. The Priory Club is set back from the road next to the church with it's own car park on three sides of the club. If the car park is full then you can park in front of the church on the private road which runs parallel with Broadfield Drive. Doors open from 7.20pm, I advise you to get there early to give yourself time to find the place if it is your first visit, time to look round before the club starts and to choose your table for the night's events. There will be a number of people paying their membership fees on the way into the club so getting there early will mean you will beat the queues. I hope as many of you as possible can make it on Wednesday to our club warming party, and I know we are in for a great time. Telephone me on 07803 665403 if you get lost on the way, I will have my mobile phone switched on while I am in the club.
Dates For Your Diary
Stockport Accordion Club are featuring Gordon Glenn as guest artist on the 23rd of January and Steve Roxton as guest artist on the 13th March 2001. Telephone Rob on 0161 480 8858 for further details.
I am pleased to announce that the second in our series
of accordion workshops is to be held on Saturday the 3rd of February 2001.
This follows on from the first workshop held in November. This forthcoming
workshop features the talent of Walter Perrie who will be your tutor for
the day, Walter will be there to educate and enlighten you in an enjoyable
and relaxed atmosphere. The venue for this event is The Priory Club. The
workshop will be from 10am to 5pm with an hour for lunch, (lunch is provided
in the cost of the day). The full days workshop with lunch included is
only £20 per person. At the last workshop I had four people trying
to book a place at this next workshop before the first one had finished!
No music reading knowledge is needed and the workshop will be aimed at
all levels from beginners to experts. Either send your £20 fee to
myself or you can book a place at the club on Wednesday. Forms detailing
the workshop will be available this Wednesday if you would like to take
details of the workshop to someone else who you know will benefit or you
can get them to telephone me on 01772 454328 if they have any questions.
Death Of Jimmy Shand
Accordionist and bandleader Jimmy Shand died in Perth, Scotland aged 92. He had been in hospital for nearly five weeks with pneumonia and passed away peacefully. For well over 50 years his name was linked with Scottish dance music, and during the sixties no New Year's Eve party was quite complete without his jigs, reels and polkas in the setting of BBC Television's lively and popular programme, The White Heather Club. Jimmy was born in East Wemyss, Fife, on January 28, 1908, and spent his early working life in the mines. After the General Strike in 1926 he switched to the Fife Power Company - a move that provided him with enough money to purchase the first of his many motor bikes. In the early days jimmy used to work with my grandad who, knowing that Jimmy wanted an accordion, lent him his own accordion. Having learned to play the melodeon, Jimmy found a job as a salesman and demonstrator at Forbes music shop after the owner had heard him play. During the Second World War, Shand became a fireman, but in his spare time played the accordion in a small dance band. After the war, he formed his own ensemble and continued to broadcast on the Scottish Home Service and record familiar titles like My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose, I Belong to Glasgow and The Gay Gordons, as well as a series entitled Scottish Country Dances in Strict Tempo. He brought traffic to a standstill during an open-air concert that attracted 20,000 people in Aberdeen in the 1950s. Female fans were reported to have fainted during the event! In the mid-fifties he came under the influence of producer George Martin, which led in 1955 to the hit single Bluebell Polka which reached number 20 in the charts and caused his appearance on Top Of The Pops. Jimmy appeared on This Is Your Life in 1978. He became a household name throughout Britain during the sixties when, together with host Andy Stewart, he consistently delivered a vast Hogmanay audience to BBC Television. Over the years he was a favourite of royalty, entertaining at many private parties and balls and was a favourite of the Queen and Queen Mother. Beset by ill-health, in 1972 he retired to his home in the village of Auchtermuchty, but in 1994 released a video of himself performing with his son Jimmy's band which registered strongly in the national chart. About ten years earlier, he had made the album chart with Fifty Years On With Jimmy Shand. Several pubs, a locomotive, and at least one racehorse bear his name, and in 1996 his special contribution to Britain's entertainment industry was marked with the award of a Basca Gold Badge. He was appointed MBE in 1962, and knighted in 1999 for his service to Scottish culture. Recognition of a quite different kind came more recently when Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts revealed to Q music magazine his fondness for Shand's album Scottish Country Dances. Some years earlier, the rock/folk musician and singer Richard Thompson had actually composed his Don't Step on My Jimmy Shands in the great man's honour. He left his wife Anne of more than 60 years and their two sons David and Jimmy. Jimmy Shand habitually booked his touring band into modest B & Bs, always specifying that honey be provided at breakfast. On one occasion his parsimony was matched by a landlady, who provided a single tiny portion in one of those little plastic containers. "Ah, Mrs McTaggart," said Jimmy, inspecting the item with exaggerated interest. "I see you keep a bee."!
We have a great night lined up for Wednesday at our new venue. Our guest artist is George Syrett who hosted our recent workshop and also played in the evening at our picnic last year, I'm looking forward to his performance. We also have a demonstration from one player of his new accordion microphones. Many of you have said they are looking forward to this move to the new venue and are looking forward to seeing the new place. If you want to miss the crowds then I advise arriving early. Doors open from 7.30pm. I hope you can make it to our opening night extravaganza. I look forward to seeing you there.
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