I have a 78 record of 1908 Hippodrome star playing concertina

Columbia record sleeve

Columbia record sleeve - Credit: Archant

Re Peggotty’s feature on the Hippodrome artistes of 1908 (May 16 Mercury).

The name Alexander Price rang a bell and had me searching my old 78 records - and bingo!

I bought this disc years ago in a Norwich secondhand shop. It’s in excellent condition and plays superbly on a modern record player/stereo at 78. The “Speed 80” on the label, of course, refers to the wind-up machines of yore.

One listen to the disc reveals the debonair-looking Mr Prince to be a real virtuoso of his instrument – concertina, not accordion! He performs these light classical pieces with great zest, true mastery and with a finger dexterity bound to baffle anyone who has played the concertina.

The music peals out stridently from the ancient shellac grooves and there’s hardly any surface hiss. No doubt this volume would have been essential in order to be heard in a venue the size of the Hippodrome before electronic amplification.

The near-mint condition of the record must be due to its having been stored unplayed for a very long time. I wonder how many other recordings this fine player made… this is good, toe-tapping music. A CD compilation would be well worthwhile.

An artiste worthy of our famous Hippodrome, indeed!

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