Selected Play List
This is a work in progress. These are not polished performances or careful recordings. I would enjoy knowing if these interest you, how you came to know of this site, and if you are familiar with this music or the concertina. You can leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
Songs from a certain period (fake):
My faking techniques are pretty basic. I usually play the melody in the right hand and play the chords in closed position as far up on the left side of the keyboard as possible. This allows for the use of the 31-chord trick and mindless voicing that is at least not too objectionable. Adding an alternating base notes (a stride effect) adds some drive and rhythm without much added complexity or skill.
Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer Harold Adamson & Jimmy McHugh
If I could paint in the style of Norman Rockwell, I’d do a painting of a guy playing a concertina and singing in the cockpit of a one-motor-gone B-29 looking at his “field over there.” Never mind that the remaining engines would drown him out.
Java Jive Milton Drake, Ben Oakland
The Ink Spots and Manhattan Transfer have both done this. Many others too, I’m sure. This is one of those tunes that I can not remember hearing for the first time. I expect I knew it as a very small child (I was born in 1944). I’ve only played it on the concertina
Enjoy Yourself Carl Sigman & Herb Magidson
I’m sure I heard this when it first came out in 1950 by Guy Lombardo. I wonder who sang it. This is another one of many songs I learned soon after I figured out how to read fake sheets on a concertina.
That Lucky Old Sun Havan Gillespie and Beasley Smith.
This is another song that came out when I was in knee pants (1949) and learned as soon as I re-discovered it in some song book or another.
Old Hymns in 4-parts (SATB):
It has been just a few years since I have been trying my hands at 4-part (SATB) arrangements on the concertina. Sometimes is is very straightforward. At other times it can be quite challenging. Ultimately, it is always fun and sounds better than just faked chords, don’t you think? Also, it seems to have helped my listening and all around musicianship.
Farther Along J. R. Baxter and W. B. Stevens
This is a great old hymn from Baxter-Stamps. I first heard it on a Mississippi John Hurt album back in the ‘70s.
Steal Away to Jesus
Softly and Tenderly Will L. Thompson
Like Amazing Grace, this is one of those hymns that is so beautiful that no one, from Unitarian to Catholic would leave it out of their repertoire. It is hard for a “constant screamer” to really do the hymn justice (softly and tenderly, indeed!).
Just A Closer Walk With Thee Traditional
I was called on to play this at a funeral on the saxophone which prompted learning it on the concertina. It has a sort of jazz feel that isn’t usually associated with concertinas.
Lilly of the Valley Charles Fry
This is the happiest of hymns and found in old many hymnals, especially Southern hymnals. It is well known by the Old Time crowd and Southern rural Protestants.
Nearer My God to Thee Sarah Adams, Lowell Mason
Imagine some concertina playing this as others sing on a life boat as the Titanic goes down!
Beulah Land Stites and Sweney
This is another discovery from the Palestine Old Time Music and Dulcimer Festival.
Drifting Too Far From The Shore Charles E. Moody
I first heard this sung by Jerry Garcia on an album with Dave Grisman. This arrangement comes from Baxter-Stamps. There is also a great rendition by The Country Gentlemen.
A Beautiful Life William M. Golden
I first came across this hymn at the Palestine Old Time Music and Dulcimer Festival. It fits well with the duet with its conversations between the left and right sides.
Folk, Old Time, Blues, etc.(fake)
St. James Infirmary
Foggy Dew Traditional
My first performance of this was on the dulcimer at a Rackensack Society meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas around 1974. I learned it from a book and don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone else do it, not even a recording. I still find the lyrics rather scandalous and I’m not comfortable doing it in the presence of children. I believe the roots are English but the book I got it from featured songs sung in the Ozarks.
Frankie & Johnny
Easy! Bluesy! Everyone likes this tale of a take-charge woman who looses her perspective when she discovers she fell in love with a rascal. Why are murder ballads so fun to sing?
Willie the Weeper