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Here are some concertina recordings mostly from the first quarter of the 20th century. At that time, recordings were made mechanically (usually termed 'acoustic') using sound captured by a large recording horn, which indirectly drove a needle and inscribed the sound onto a wax disk.

Recordings made this way do not have the quality of the later (after 1925) electrical recordings, and most of the 78rpm records used for transcription were badly scratched and worn. While most later or unworn 78rpms will play well with stylii of around 2.5 to 3 mil diameter, I have had to use huge 3.5 and 4 mil 'diamond nails' to bring out detail and reduce wear distortion. The transcriptions have been processed to try to increase the audibility of the notes played, rather than a good sonic reproduction of the perfomance, and all transcriptions are new. If you would prefer copies of the unprocessed transcriptions, please contact me, although be aware that (for archive purposes) the files are each around 140Mb (32 bit, 96KHz, stereo). A discography of Alexander Prince recordings was published in the ICA's PICA (and also here) at the end of 2012, followed by a discography of other players in 2013.

For dating information I have used various internet sources (some now forgotten!), and published label discographies,but currently the most comprehensive internet resource seems to be The AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music (CHARM) database available here

New recordings added in February 2013 are indicated by [1] after the track names.
New recordings added in May 2015 or later are indicated by [2] after the track names.

Dutch Daly (Anglo Concertina)

William 'Dutch' Daly (1848-1924), was born in St. Helier,Jersey,in the Channel Islands,and became a major music-hall artist. His life and career have been documented in an extremely well researched article written by Randall C. Merris for the ICA's PICA Volume 4, available here.

Wedding March and Carnival
Recorded 13th August 1903
Released on Gramophone Concert Record G.C.9137
10" single sided

Imitations on The Concertina
Recorded 18th April 1904
Released on Gramophone Concert Record G.C.9138
10" single sided

Stephen Bartle (English Concertina)

Bartle was probably the first English system Concertina player to be recorded. He is credited as being "The World Champion Concertina Player" prior to Alexander Prince (so roughly pre 1895), and a short article on his daughter Barbara appears in the ICA's PICA Volume 1, available here

Blue Bells Of Scotland
Recorded 26 June 1906
This release on Zonophone X-49105
10" single-sided from November 1906

Harry Boyd (English Concertina)

Harry Boyd is probably better known as a concertina dealer in Newcastle around the turn of the 20th century. His 'Boyd' customised concertinas from Wheatstone and Lachenal are high quality instruments. However he did record a few sides and this record (originally released on Jumbo 600 c.1911) shows he was a very good player.

Hope Told A Flattering Tale [2]
L'Esperit Francais Polka [2]
Recording date unknown
This release on Ariel 1511
10" double-sided circa 1911

Archie Burgess (English Concertina)

Archie Burgess was a stalwart of the early days of the International Concertina Association, and a fine English system player. He was a Brigadier with the Salvation Army, and this recording is part of the Salvation Army MF Series released on Regal and Regal-Zonophone.

A Salvation Medley [2]
a.Calm is my resting
b.My Burden
c.I am happy,glad and free
Recording date unknown
This release on Regal Zonophone MF269
10" double-sided released 1936

Alf Edwards (English Concertina)

Although most famous as a concertina player, Alf Edwards was a multi-instrumentalist, playing trombone, saxophone, violin, drums, and even bagpipes. He became a professional musician in April 1918, joing his father in a duo. After his father retired, Alf was very much in demand, but fulfilled a longtime ambition to join a dance band and joined Jack Payne's Orchestra in November 1934, remaining with the Orchestra until it was disbanded in 1947. He was often featured on the concertina playing with the Orchestra's string section. He recorded on concertina for HMV before WW2 with both Jack Payne and Bonnie Monroe, and after the war was also featured on records from the growing Folk movement.

Nixa NY7043 Tarant-300 (48K) Tarantella [2]
Tarantella Abbruzzese/Bel Fiore [2]
Recording date unknown
Released on Nixa N.Y.7043
10" double-sided in March 1951

Nixa NY7043 Tarant Abbruz-300 (52K)

Percy Honri (Duet Concertina)

Recordings of Percy Honri are rare. I've not seen any on general sale in the last 5 years until I got the Zonophone below in early 2016. The two Nicole discs came from somebody who knew of my interest. They are early 7 inch indestructibles. Unfortunately these paper based discs are very prone to warping - which causes the apparent speed changes you hear - and their surface produces a lot of noise.

The Swanee River Schottische [2]
Recorded 29 February 1904. Released June 1904
on Zonophone 49101
7" single-sided

Popular Melodies [2]
Recorded/Released circa 1904
This release on Nicole 4522
7" single-sided

Entry Of The Gladiators [2]
Song and Story [2]
Recorded/Released circa 1905
This release on Nicole D128
7" double-sided

Jim Hume (English Concertina)

Jim Hume is mentioned as one of the leading players circa 1920 in a letter to the Accordion Review magazine in the early 1950s. Although his style may appear a little simple compared to the other players on this page, it should be remembered that the English concertina is primarily a melody instrument, and his double octave and harmonised playing shows a considerable talent on the instrument.

Nautical Selections
Blue Bells Of Scotland
Recorded 28 September 1916
This release on Zonophone 1717
10" double-sided from January 1917

Belphegor March [2]
King Cotton March [2]
Recorded 28 September 1916
This release on Zonophone 1785
10" double-sided from July 1917

Nights Of Gladness
Dream Of Delight
Recorded 30 July 1918
This release on Zonophone 1895
10" double-sided from December 1918

Jim Hume as "Jack Irwin"
on Ariel 1040 10" double-sided.
Nights Of Gladness
from Zonophone 1895 (see above)

Spring Song [2]
Recorded 28 Sept 1916
Released on Zonophone 1864 in August 1917
Destiny Waltz
Sons Of The Brave
Recorded 30th July 1918
This release on Zonophone 1910
10" double-sided from February 1919

Bacarolle - Tales of Hoffmann [1]
Under Freedoms Flag [1]
Recorded 30th July 1918
This release on Zonophone 1938
10" double-sided from July 1919

William Kimber (Anglo Concertina)

William Kimber (1872-1961) was one of the main sources for the tunes and steps of the Morris Dance.

Over The Hills To Glory [2]
Double Lead Through [2]
Recorded London October 31, 1946
Released on HMV B9519
10" double-sided in August 1947

Bean Setting / The 29th May [2]
Rodney / Rigs of Marlow [2]
Recorded London October 31, 1946
Released on HMV B9520
10" double-sided in August 1947

Mitchell and Shepherd (? Concertinas)

I have no information on this duo, but Stuart Eydmann notes in Chapter 8 of his The Life and Times of the Concertina that 'Blaze Away' was recorded on a 78 rpm disc by the concertina duet Messrs. Mitchell and Shepherd. An undated Imperial Records catalogue lists three records as 'Concertina Solo' without providing any artist names :

  • 1095 - Blaze Away March/Under The Double Eagle
  • 1096 - Selection of Scotch Airs/Woodland Flowers
  • 1095 - Alice, Where Art Thou/The Song That Reached My Heart

so it's possible that all three of these records were by the same duo. Any further information would be welcome.

Selection of Scotch Airs [2]
Woodland Flowers [2]
Recording date unknown
This release on Imperial 1096
10" double-sided from c. 1923

Frank Olloms (English Concertina)

When I know little about a player, I always ask other enthusiasts at concertina.net for information before I start any research. This time some of them went off and did the research for me (see here). Frank's real name was Francini Olloms, and he was an acrobat as well as a very capable player. I've found only two records by him (see A Concertina Discography), and the other record is on the English International CD set (see here).

Poet and Peasant
Zampa
Recording date unknown
Released on Parlophone E 5232
10" double-sided in September 1924

Ernest Rutterford (Maccann Duet Concertina)

I have very little information on Rutterford, other than his father (Charles) was also a player and teacher, and Harry Minting (the last manager of Wheatstone & Co.) was one of Charles' pupils. Ernest and Harry later played together in the Ernest Rutterford Band, where Harry normally played banjo.

K-K-K Katy
Just A Baby's Prayer at Twilight
Recording date unknown
This release on The Winner 3327
10" double-sided from August 1919

Four Little Blackberries
Missouri Waltz
Recording date unknown
This release on The Winner 3345
10" double-sided from October 1919

Intermezzo, Cavalleria Rusticana [2]
Waltz from Faust [2]
Recording date unknown
This release on The Winner 3407
10" double-sided from May 1920

El Capitan
On The Quarterdeck
Recording date unknown
This release on The Winner 3416
10" double-sided from July 1920

Viscount Nelson
Sons Of The Brave
Recording date unknown
This release on The Winner 3571
10" double-sided from September 1921

The Rickety Rackety Walk
The Night Patrol
Recording date unknown
This release on The Winner 3595
10" double-sided from November 1921

Rustic Rube [2]
Fragrance [2]
Recording date unknown
This release on Westport 3047
10" double-sided originally released on Winner 3650 in May 1922

Silver Heels [1]
The Crazy Fiddler [1]
Recording date unknown
This release on The Winner 3918
10" double-sided from December 1923

Bercuse De Jocelyn
Le Cygne
Recording date unknown
This release on Winner 4264
10" double-sided from September 1925

Ashton Under Lyne Concertina Prize Band

Barcarolle - Tales of Hoffmann
Glow Worm Idyll
Recorded c. 14 October 1932 (Electrical Recording)
This release on Zonophone 6257
10" double-sided from December 1932

'Walter Dale'

I was very pleased to win this 78rpm on ebay, thinking that I could add a new English player with recordings from around 1925-30. But things were not as they seemed. The recordings on this disk are not by Walter Dale, but in fact by Alexander Prince and were made for the Zonophone label in 1908/9. If you look carefully at the label for Adminstration March, you can see the stamped Zonophone catalogue code X49146. Both sides have the Zonophone matrix numbers stamped on them. But at least the disk produced better transcriptions than those on the Alexander Prince page.

Administration March
Honest Toil
Recorded 1908/1909 by Alexander Prince for Zonophone
This release on Homochord D1057
10" double-sided from circa 1925-1930.


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