Many years ago my interest in accordions was awoken by two people. One was the Cornish man Charlie Bate, the second was a Bedfordshire based musician, Ted Wright. Ted was the main musician for the Offley Morris Men and he also played in the Rangers Folk Dance Band, a band that I eventually played for following Ted’s death.
When I was trying to learn the art of playing for Morris, Ted used to allow me to play along side him and he would give me guidance on the right and wrong things to do when playing for dancers. When Ted passed away back in 1975, the accordion he used for Morris was left to the Offley Morris Men where it has remained in fairly regular use ever since.
Nowadays, there are very few men within the side that remember Ted, and the only musician that was still using the accordion has over more recent years, come to prefer playing either a smaller accordion or concertina. For this reason, the team have made the difficult but much appreciated decision to pass the accordion on to me in order that it continues to be used.
Even before Ted’s passing I had admired this accordion, it’s a very old pre-war Dallape manufactured in Italy during the late 1930’s and in it’s day was a very expensive – in the region of 2700 Lire – and a high quality instrument. It was a special built 4 voice instrument that has a very unique tonal quality that always stands out whether being played on its own or as part of a band and it is something I will treasure and it will remind me of Ted’s inimitable playing style every time I play it. All I can hope is that he would aprove!