A friend recently visited the World of Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta and found this vintage advertisement with “internationally known musician and entertainer” Graham W. Jackson enjoying a bottled Coke while playing his accordion:
world of coca-cola, uploaded by tinyprayers
The son of a well-known singer, Jackson displayed musical talents at an early age and gave piano and organ concerts while still in high school. He was an active performer and bandleader throughout his lifetime, was once designated the official musician of the state of Georgia, and was reportedly the favorite musician of president Franklin D. Roosevelt.
It was Jackson’s association with FDR that made him the subject of one of LIFE magazine’s most famous photos — and possibly the best-known accordion photo ever taken. This photo of Jackson tearfully performing “Goin’ Home” as FDR‘s body was carried from the Little White House in Warm Springs, GA, where he died, symbolized the nation’s grief over the president’s passing.
The Cordovox Magic of Valentino, uploaded by letslookupandsmile
What’s not to love about this album cover? The purple cuffs, the pinky ring, the thumbs… and, of course, Valentino’s magical Cordovox. I tried to find a clip from the album, but all I could find was this review of Valentino’s “Live in Las Vegas” CD. I’m pretty sure it’s the same guy, but if anyone has more information about this master of the Cordovox, leave us a comment.
Grab your accordion identification toolkit… it’s time for another round of “Name That Accordion.” Today, reader Sherri B. has sent us some photos of an old Wurlitzer that once belonged to her great-grandfather. It’s an ornately decorated 120 bass, with a “Made in Germany” label on the back. Sherri thinks it’s from the turn of the (last) century, but that’s about all the information we have to go on. Have you seen a Wurlitzer like this one? How old is it really?
Name That Accordion
Jon Hammond, “World’s First Psychedelic Accordionist” (1971), uploaded by laterent2000
Some of you may know organist/accordionist Jon Hammond from his long-running, Manhattan jazz show, “The Jon Hammond Show,” or from his work as one of the world’s premier Hammond B3 organ players. In the early ’70s, though, Jon lived the true rock and roll accordion life — pumping his bellows (a Giulietti Classic electric accordion) and wearing fantastically loud, rainbow-striped pants. Those were the days, indeed.
mysterious monster accordion, uploaded by tinyprayers
Our friend Dave came across this gigantic accordion on display in Virginia City, Montana. As noted in the caption, it is “Unfinished, with at least an extra octave of keys, and 192 (!) bass buttons.” Wow. That’s a whole lotta accordion! (Thanks, Dave!)
I receive a lot of emails from people who have found (or been given) an old accordion and are looking to identify it and determine its value. And while this is a common predicament, there are very few resources online for accurately identifying vintage accordions. So I typically ask these people where they’re located and refer them to a local accordion shop. (Especially since, to do an accurate appraisal, you really need to see, hear, and even smell an accordion in person.)
But lately I’ve been thinking, why not throw some of these queries to our readers — after all, you’re probably one of the most diverse and knowledgeable collections of accordion enthusiasts online. So, we’re starting a regular feature called “Name That Accordion”, where we post photos of re-discovered accordions and ask you, our fair readers, to help identify their age, origin, and any other historical details you can muster up.
Our first subjects come from Carmen L., who is researching three accordions that her late stepfather left her. We’ve posted a few photos on Flickr — there’s a black 120-bass Wurlitzer, a blue two-row Concertone, and a red German-made 12-bass. If you can help fill in the details on any of these boxes, post a comment here or over at Flickr. Let’s test the wisdom of the crowds!
Name That Accordion
Today’s links are sponsored by the great state of Texas, home of Flaco Jimenez, Brave Combo, and the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.
Rock stars of tomorrow, uploaded by ’56 Mojo
As we’ve seen before, I have a soft spot for these old photos of kids accordion bands. (This one apparently dates from around 1935.) But while these bands seemed to be a dime a dozen in those days, I’d really like to see photos of modern-day kids accordion bands. Anybody know of one?
image-50, uploaded by Curtis!
I’m always telling people that the accordion is the ultimate party instrument and this photo — dated September 1958 — is further proof. Reckless dancing, cigars, shirtless accordion players, dark socks with shorts, probably some alcohol off-camera… now that’s a party.
We are not amused, uploaded by Ginger Sarah
I’ll admit — as much as I love an accordion-playing Santa, I feel a little sorry for that dog. I hope they make enough money busking to buy him a really tasty bone or chew toy. He certainly deserves it.