The Concertina History Resource

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Audio Recordings

Various Players
Alexander Prince
Duet Recordings
Hosted Sites
Ancient Audio
The New Camelot Concertina Band
Mr Geoff Wooff's Website

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

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

We normally think of 78rpms as 3 or 4 minutes, but Norman Field has kindly provided two rare Musogram recordings of Bartle, each lasting in excess of 5 minutes, as well as a Grammavox recording. Norman has a very informative website - Early British Disc Record Labels 1898-1926 which is well worth dipping into. Thanks, Norman!

Empire March
This release on Musogram 185
12" double-sided from c.1910

The Sailor's Hornpipe
This release on Musogram 188
12" double-sided from c.1910

Poet and Peasant
This release on Grammavox C1
10" double-sided from c.1912

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
L'Esprit Francais Polka
Recording date unknown
This release on Ariel 1511
10" double-sided circa 1911

W. Bramwell Thornett (Triumph Duet Concertina)

Bramwell Thornett was a stalwart of the earlier days of the International Concertina Association, joining in 1969 although he had made many visits to meetings earlier, and a fine duet 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.

Glory To God In The Highest
Recording date unknown
This release on Regal Zonophone MF292
10" double-sided released 1940

Archie Burgess (Triumph Duet Concertina)

Archie Burgess is credited as popularising the duet concertina in the Salvation Army. The 'Triumph' duet was a name used by them for the duet system also known as Crane or Butterworth. These recordings are part of the Salvation Army MF Series released on Regal and Regal-Zonophone.

A Salvation Medley
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

Sweet And Low
Recording date unknown
This release on Regal Zonophone MF292
10" double-sided released 1940

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

Alf Edwards (English Concertina)

Although most well known as a concertina player, Alf Edwards was a multi-instrumentalist, playing trombone, saxophone, violin, drums, and even bagpipes and ocarina. 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. The Harmonic disc below (a very late 78rpm) was used for short introductions on radio and television stations, etc. so I've included it in full.

Tarantella Abbruzzese/Bel Fiore
Recording date unknown
Released on Nixa N.Y.7043
10" double-sided in March 1951

Geoff Alderson:
Slap Happy Chappie
Alf Edwards (bass concertina):
Tipsy Tina (two versions)

Alf Edwards (ocarina):
Ocarette (three versions)

Recording date unknown
Released on Harmonic CBL 556
10" double-sided in 1964

Grock (Charles Adrien Wettach) (English Concertina)

Grock was a famous Swiss circus and music hall clown who included the concertina in his act.The recording below is one side of a four disc set of his complete act which was recorded in French.

Part 7. Concertina
Recording date unknown.
Released ~1932
on Odeon RA 222.020
10" double-sided

The Heywood English Concertina Band (English Concertinas)

The Heywood Band was recorded in 1932, so these are electrical recordings. As the smaller print is not easily visible on the labels, here are the title listings for the medley tracks:

MR 501, A Sunday Parade.
Church Bells, Organ Voluntary,Hymn - Rock Of Ages, Bugle Call - Fall In, Homeward Bound.

MR 501, Old Memories.
Who Deeply Drinks Of Wine, Old Towler, Love Has Eyes, There Is A Tavern In The Town.

MR 579, The Crown Of Scottish Song.
O Are Ye Sleeping Maggie?; Maggie Lauder; White Cockade; Flowers Of The Forest; Land Of The Lea

A Sunday Parade
Old Memories
Recorded 31 January 1932
Regal MR501
10" double-sided
released March 1932

J. Eastwood, accompanied by The Heywood English Concertina Band

The Heywood English Concertina Band
The Crown Of Scottish Song
Recorded 31 January 1932
Regal MR579
10" double-sided
released July 1932

Percy Honri (Duet Concertina)

Recordings of Percy Honri are rare. I've not seen any on general sale in the last 10 years until I got the Zonophone below in early 2016, and the Winner in 2018. 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 and their surface produces a lot of noise. I had thought that this warping caused the apparent speed changes you hear, but another youtube transcription of the same disc showed exactly the same speed changes.

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

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

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

Barcarolle, from Tales of Hoffman
Rubenstein's Melody in F
Recorded November 1913
Winner 2542
10" double-sided
released Feb. 1914

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

Church Bells
The Deep Blue Sea
Recorded 28 September 1916
This release on Zonophone 1754
10" double-sided from Mar/Apr 1917

Belphegor March
King Cotton March
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
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
Under Freedoms Flag
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
Double Lead Through
Recorded London October 31, 1946
Released on HMV B9519
10" double-sided in August 1947

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

John Hill Maccann (Maccann Duet Concertina)

'Professor' Maccann was the inventor of the Maccann system duet, patented in 1884. The recordings below were kindly provided by Peter Adamson, an expert on early British recordings. Peter researched these transcriptions very throughly to establish their true replay speed and he notes :
"... both with some measure of noise reduction and filtering, but (I hope) preserving all of the recorded sound. As I mentioned a while ago, 70 rpm turned out to give 'sensible' keys for the two pieces: C and D major (at A=435)"
The label images show the earliest type of records issued by The Gramophone Company (later known as 'His Masters Voice') and handwritten details are engraved into the disc itself.

The Coral Pearl Gavotte
Recording date 12th September 1900
This release on Berliner 9118
7" single-sided from
The Gramophone Company

'A Frangesa March
Recording date 12th September 1900
This release on Berliner 9119
7" single-sided from
The Gramophone Company

Walter Mitchell and Willie Shepherd (Anglo? Concertinas)

I have no information on this duo or their instruments, 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. They recorded this at least twice on different labels with a gap of almost 10 years.

Blaze Away March
Napoleon March
Recording date unknown
This release on Winner 2769
10" double-sided from February 1915

Selection of Scotch Airs
Woodland Flowers
Recording date 9th February 1923
This release on Imperial 1096
10" double-sided from March 1923

Frank Olloms (English Concertina)

When I know little about a player, I always ask other enthusiasts at 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).

A Los Toros
Canadian Capers
Recording date unknown
Released on Parlophone E 5207
10" double-sided in July 1924

Poet and Peasant
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.

Colonel Bogey
The Great Little Army
Recording date unknown
This release on The Winner 3199
10" double-sided from February 1918

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
Waltz from Faust
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

Old Faithful, March
The Middy, March
Recording date unknown
This release on The Winner 3449
10" double-sided from October 1920

Shakespeare and Rutterford
(Cornet and Concertina)
Recording date unknown
This release on The Winner 3559
10" double-sided from August 1921

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
Recording date unknown
This release on Westport 3047
10" double-sided originally released on Winner 3650 in May 1922

Silver Heels
The Crazy Fiddler
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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