Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Steam Concertina

I can't quite grasp the concept of steam concertina, unless it is a metaphor. Nonetheless, in Australia in the 1960, Mike Ball was billed as "the last of the steam concertina players."

He appears on an album, FOLKSINGERS OF AUSTRALIA SERIES, VOLUME TWO, whose players are:
  • SHAYNA KARLIN - from Brisbane "A Brisbane Lady"
  • GORDON McINTYRE - from Glasgow "Highly thought-of Scottish Round Singer"
  • DANNY SPOONER - from London "Singer and teller of Naughtical Yarns"
  • MIKE BALL - from Bath "The last of the steam-concertina players"
He was originally from Bath, England, and returned to Britain after his stint Down Under.

Folk singer Warren Fahey cites him too:
When I left school I started to go to the Elizabeth Hotel, Elizabeth Street, Sydney, where Mike and Carol Wilkinson ran one of the first pub folk clubs. I became a firm friend of the Wilkinson's and their associate 'door man' Harvey Green. The four of us, and Mike Ball, would usually have a meal every week followed by a night of stilton, pickled eggs and song. The Wilkinson's were terrific singers and especially English harmony songs. Mike Ball, well, I always thought him a genius. He was an extraordinary English concertina player, singer and songwriter. He put many Robert Graves poems to music and I can still remember his setting for 'Timothy Winters'. It was the nearest I ever came to crying over a song. Eric Bogle's songs have the same effect.
There is no mention of any steam.

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