I have been playing the Anglo Concertina since 1975. Previously, I thought that I had no musical ability at all.
Fortunately, my day job (I’m a Theatre Designer, designing sets, costumes and video for Theatre & Opera), by shear chance, brought me into contact with 4 of the best anglo players in England. They were 4 guys called John: (1)John Watcham now the musician for Brighton Morris, but then, he was with Albion Morris, a marvellous chordal player. He accompanied Shirley Collins on “Adieu to old England”. (2) John Rodd: he played Anglo for The first Albion Band lineups and gave me lessons at various Gigs. marvellous driving energy. (3) John Kirkpatrick - the greatest anglo player in the world. I also got to know him through my day job as I was currently designing “ The Mysteries” and “Larkrise to Candleford at the National Theatre in London, both shows featuring Shirley Collins, but also including John Rodd , John K and (4) John Tams, the founder of Home Service, who plays wonderful Melodeon and Anglo. they were all in several shows. Tams as a special treat allowed me to play in the Albion band during some of the performances of the above shows. A few years later, I designed a play for The Royal Shakespeare company in Stratford-on-Avon. The play was called ’Country Dancing” and the band featured Martin Carthy, Sue Kirkpatrick and Chris Wood. Martin invited me to join in the band and I played my G/D Dipper Anglo for over 20 performances - Bliss! I also have a 56 key B flat /F and a 42 key A/E Jeffries. Nowadays I play in the Greentrad English Session at the Lord Hood pub, where I live in Greenwich, London. We had 20 players this week, coming miles from Kent, Essex and Wimbledon, continuously playing from 8:15 to 11:30. I have also played Irish music at sessions in Camden town, Lewisham and Hackney -all in London. My wife: Lucy plays Flute and my eldest son: Billy, plays acoustic guitar and harmonica. I can only play by ear, but I have a good ear and can find the notes at much faster speed than I could ever by reading the dots. For my 50th birthday, My family & friends clubbed together to send me
to Eunice, Louisiana, USA to study the Cajun Accordeon with one of the greatest players: Mark Savoy. Mark
has played with Rye Cooder on various records and he featured in the Movie: “Southern Comfort” . I had a brilliant week there and also at the New Orleans Blues festival where Mark and his band : The Savoy/Doucet
band also played.
I hope this little memoir has been of some interest to fellow session players. I’ve been very lucky to meet my
folk music heroes and play with them. Bill Dudley Sep 2015