Remembering Paul Davis/Davies

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Steampacket
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Re: Remembering Paul Davis/Davies

Post by Steampacket »

Came across these eight sound recordings by Phillip Whittaker made in Lancaster, 1973, of Paul playing the concertina and tin whistle. Thanks to a member of the thesession.org here are names to the tunes on five of the eight sets of tunes:

https://soundcloud.com/philip-whittaker

6: The Pipe On The Hob (jig)
7: The Old Copperplate; The Five Mile Chase (reels)
12: Paddy Fahy’s; Paddy Fahy’s (reels)
15: Paddy Fahy’s; The House on the Hill (jigs)
18: Bill Harte’s (jig); The Bag of Spuds (reel); The maids of Feakle (reel)

Phillip Whittaker had this to say on the session.org regarding Paul and the recording of these tunes https://thesession.org/discussions/35368#comment750086:

"I sent Terry this email:
Dear Terry,
I recently came across a memorial page for Paul Davis on your site. I wish I had seen this a lot earlier

I knew Paul when he was living In Lancaster in 1973. I probably met him through the folk club, the Lancaster Folk Stir. He was living in a flat with a stunning young woman (I thought).

I was getting interested in Irish music and played a very small number of tunes on tin whistle. He offered to sell me a portable cassette recorder, one of the first generation of battery driven ones. He agreed to record some tunes for me. I have about 26 files of tunes he recorded for me. Mostly on the concertina, but some really nice
playing of slip jigs on whistle. Quite a few set dance tunes which were popular at the time. Nothing by him playing the flute, sadly.

I regret that I lost touch with Paul after I left Lancaster. I was on a one year course at the teacher training college. I have a few clear memories of him. One is of him filling a the crack in a flute head joint with a resin mixed with the dust from a sanded down flute (sorry!). Soon after that he set off on the bus to Heysham where he caught the ferry to Ireland. He had his flutes in a Gladstone/doctors’ bag.

That year he travelled to Birmingham for the Fleadh, the heats for the All Ireland championships. I think he was mostly interested in being there to meet customers. He was persuaded to enter the concertina competition to prevent a player of the English system concertina being an embarrassment by making the final in Ireland by dint of being the only entrant. I can remember the words of the adjudicator who compared his vamping on the lower notes to the use of the regulators on the pipes. You can hear some examples on the files I have rescued from the tape.

He was very helpful to me at a time when it was difficult to find out much at all about traditional Irish music and LPs were few.

If you think other people would be interested in the recordings, please let me know, where they might be hosted? Your website?

Yours,

Philip
……………………………………

Terry suggested that I put them up on Soundcloud. I have started converting the files to mp3 format and uploading them.


Another member of thesession.org, Sheepdip, had this to say about Paul six years ago:
"I first met Paul Davis in the early 1970’s when I was trying to buy my first flute. Complaining that the three I had bought were useless he said he had a great one for me and to meet him next week at a London Fleadh Cheoil competition.
I saw that famous large Gladstone bag full of oiled flutes wrapped in newspaper. I bought an 8-keyed with an obscure (1870’s) musical dealer’s name & London address stamp. Likewise I would come across Paul playing concertina at sessions -discretely, low key.
Years later I found the keys’ under-side were all stamped by (Henry) Wylde, an ex- Ruddall & Rose apprentice and likely one of the many fine flutes he produced for dealers rather than in his own name.
It continues in my legacy - most years were for hymns in church. Being an Improved-Pratten (large-holed/large volume) ideal volume for intros/ harmonies to a large congregation.
I do wonder sometimes what music this flute played during the hundred years before it came into my care…." Sheepdip.
Steampacket
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Re: Remembering Paul Davis/Davies

Post by Steampacket »

Armagh Piper's Club - Songs of the chanter can be heard here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8XdTBnE5pU
With Paul Davis on flute. Are there other recording/tapess of Paul Davis playing flute out there?
Tonehole
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Re: Remembering Paul Davis/Davies

Post by Tonehole »

AHFR wrote: Thu May 15, 2014 1:27 pm A few years ago Paul's widow, Turid, contacted me. She still has a number of his flutes and is only gradually sorting through these. Currently I am advertising two flutes on her behalf, a 10-key Cabart and 5-key Lamy. From the flutes that I have seen Paul certainly had a keen eye for a good flute, making it all the sadder that I didn't ever meet him.

Arthur Haswell
Thanks Arthur -

I bought Paul Davies RS Pratten's Perfected Siccama from you back then.

Little wonder - it remains a stunning favourite flute for its intonation and calibre.

Kind regards
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Terry McGee
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Re: Remembering Paul Davis/Davies

Post by Terry McGee »

Tonehole, Arthur, and anyone else who might have a flute or flutes handled by Paul Davis/Davies over the years. Can I get you to check under the touch of the upper C key to see if there are any markings. You will probably need to pull the pin to be able to see it. A Rudall & Rose key with the initials PD under the C key touch has just been brought to my attention. What's interesting about this marking is that it isn't the usual stamped lettering, it appears to be made by a rotating "engraving burr" in a high-speed handheld rotary tool such as the Dremel.

We know that Paul marked concertinas he handled, so it would be entirely consistent for him to mark flutes. He would want to be able to find the mark easily, but wouldn't want to deface the instrument. Under the c key touch would fit those criteria.
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Re: Remembering Paul Davis/Davies

Post by jemtheflute »

I'll try to have a look as I have in hand several flutes I suspect Paul worked on as well as one (my own long-standing R&R #4683) I know for sure he worked on - though I'm pretty sure he didn't mark it - certainly he didn't do anything on that like or in the position of the mark on SM's R&R long C ('twas I who suggested he sent you the photos, though a possible Paul Davies connection didn't occur to me :poke: ) which triggered your enquiry. However, most long C key touches will have cork covering that location, so it's going to be hard to be sure without starting to take the cork buffers off!
I respect people's privilege to hold their beliefs, whatever those may be (within reason), but respect the beliefs themselves? You gotta be kidding!

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Terry McGee
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Re: Remembering Paul Davis/Davies

Post by Terry McGee »

Thanks Jem. It's a bit of a long shot, I know, but I think worth a look.

I have only one flute that I know Paul worked on, and I know that because I swapped a Yamaha metal flute with him for it back in 1974. It has a mark under the C touch, but I can't be really sure what the mark is. At a quick glance, or under the Maggy Lamp, I'd say a P, but under the zoom microscope it becomes inconclusive. It could be a poorly formed F, and you have reported an F on the same type of flute (B&S Dulcet). It's certainly not the result of recent engraving, might be a period stamp not well used, or it could be a later scratched letter. None of the other keys shows a mark.

Interestingly, and perhaps significantly, I haven't noted any other period flute key stampings involving a P.
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jemtheflute
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Re: Remembering Paul Davis/Davies

Post by jemtheflute »

I've had a bit of a look now at two flutes here which have old crack pinning work in what I believe is Paul's distinctive style. One is my low Bb R&R #4837 and the other is a "visiting" flute with Wylde stamped keys. Without doing a full strip search, there's no obvious sign of anything non-original marked on the keys, certainly no crude modern engraving.
I respect people's privilege to hold their beliefs, whatever those may be (within reason), but respect the beliefs themselves? You gotta be kidding!

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Terry McGee
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Re: Remembering Paul Davis/Davies

Post by Terry McGee »

OK, thanks Jem. Let's just keep an eye out just in case.

Interesting about the crack pinning. I wouldn't have guessed that was within his repertoire, but we have to remember my last contact with him was in 1974. Gulp, 47 years ago! At that time he had "digs" near Portobello Rd (his landlady was an Irish woman who played concertina! Mrs Flaherty, from memory.). He showed me a lot of flutes and showed me how he did padding, rewound tenons and relatively straightforward stuff like that. All done at a desk in his room. No sign of any more serious facilities. But maybe that came later, or was done elsewhere.
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Re: Remembering Paul Davis/Davies

Post by Tonehole »

"Tonehole, Arthur, and anyone else who might have a flute or flutes handled by Paul Davis/Davies over the years. Can I get you to check under the touch of the upper C key to see if there are any markings. You will probably need to pull the pin to be able to see it. "

Hi Terry -

I can't see any marking and the key is exposed with limited area to etch anything under the pin!

Happy to trust Arthur's word that this B&H R.S. Pratten's Perfected came from Paul Davies' widow :)
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