West Country Melodeon

By Bob Cann

  1. Uncle George’s
    Tommy Roberts’
  2. Hot Punch
  3. Uncle George’s
    Uncle Jim’s
  4. The Primrose
  5. Dorsetshire
  6. The Kester Rocky
  7. Family
    Uncle George’s
  8. Woodland Flowers
    Uncle Jim’s
  9. Ford Farm
    Cornish Quickstep
  10. Harry Gidley’s
  11. When It’s Night-time In Italy (It’s Wednesday Over Here)
    Climbin’ Up De Golden Stairs
  12. Lyrinka
  13. Schottische

Seven comments

Straight forward melodeon playing from East Anglia. The liner notes state that Bob learned his repertoire from his local community and large musical family, which is reflected in the names of the tunes. Many have “cousins” in other traditions by more familiar names, for example, “Uncle George’s Hornpipe” is more commonly known as “The Cliffs” and “Tommy Roberts’” may be related to a family of tunes including “The Wonder” and “The London Clog”. The album’s closing “Schottische Hornpipe” bears similarities to “Rickett’s Hornpipe”, while “The Kester Rocky Waltz”, and “Ford Farm Reel” are Cann’s original compositions.

Very lively and very interesting music. Cann’s box is a Hohner Club III M, pitched in G and D. The album seems rather scarce, there were a few on eBay which seem to be gone but there are a few here, not too cheap. Not sure if it ever made it to CD. Another CD of Cann’s music ‘Proper Job’ is still available, I think.


His instrument wasn’t limited to a single box - he played many different accordions in different keys also.

I don’t know where he grew up, but he is mainly associated with playing music in Devon, where he was in a dance band called The Dartmoor Pixies.

From the notes, on Bob’s style:

“[. . .] Each dancer would have to get up three times in turn, and each time he would set twice and then step twice (setting meant keeping time with your feet). The musician would sit with his back to the dancers so that there would be no favouritism and the same tune would be played throughout each complete set of dancers. The procedure would be repeated - setting twice and then stepping twice - and then repeated again. The tunes played were always hornpipes. [. . .] In general, however, Bob’s playing is distinct from the more syncopated ‘East Anglian style’ and favours a more ‘straight ahead’ approach. This does give him a wilder, driving sound ideal for dancing and may well have been developed in the above-mentioned step dance competitions, where the same tune might be played for two hours or more and drive would be required to keep both dancer’s and musician’s spirits from flagging. The style is also partly brought about by the more sophisticated instrument that Bob plays -- a Hohner Club III M, pitched in the keys of G and D with an extra half row of accidentals. [. . .]”

I forgot to add the catalog number Topic 12TS275