Flickr Find: Mysterious Monster Accordion

Mysterious Monster Accordionmysterious 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!)

Chocolate Accordion Cake (Yum!)

Chocolate Accordion CakeWhen Debbie Budd’s father turned 80 years old, she didn’t bake him an ordinary cake. No sir, she made this delicious masterpiece — a chocolate accordion cake complete with white chocolate buttons and chocolate icing bellows. The cake is a full-size replica of a two-row button accordion that Debbie bought her father as a birthday gift. Read Debbie’s instructions to learn how to make your own, or check out this YouTube video where Debbie points out some of the cake’s finer details. (Anyone else need a glass of milk after seeing that cake?)

[Found via TDA’s Wall of Wheeze]

Name That Accordion

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

Quick Links: Lone Star Edition

Today’s links are sponsored by the great state of Texas, home of Flaco Jimenez, Brave Combo, and the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.

Flickr Find: Kids Accordion Band

1930s era kids accordion bandRock 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?

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Flickr Find: Backyard Accordion Party

Backyard Accordion Partyimage-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.

Flickr Find: Accordion Santa’s Best Friend

Accordion Santa and his dogWe 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.

Flickr Find: Accordion vs. Boy

Boy with Accordion
uploaded by Brann
Ever have one of those days? The kind where everything drags, just getting out of bed is a chore, and when you pick up your accordion, it feels like a ton of bricks. Well, imagine how this poor kid feels. First, Mom makes him wear a tie and a pair of knickers. Then he has to stand out in the sun and pose for a photo with an accordion that’s nearly as big as he is. The grimace on his face says it all: “Hurry up and take the picture… I can’t hold this much longer…”

The Twilight of Nebraska Polka

Today’s New York Times has a great article (“A Rural Dance Tradition in Twilight”) on the slow decline of polka in Nebraska. The piece explores polka’s place in Midwestern culture — “a music with little commercial viability but a strong social function” — and looks at the fans and musicians keeping the tradition alive. While the dwindling farming population plays a role in polka’s wane, some enthusiasts, like 68-year-old Darlene Kliment, blame themselves for not doing more to encourage the younger generation:

“It’s our generation’s fault… When we were growing up, our parents would take us to the dances. We’d fall asleep on the side of the stage, or in the booths. But then when our generation grew up, we got baby sitters.”

Of course, Nebraska isn’t alone; the same story is playing out in communities across the Midwest and East Coast. As the older, polka-loving generation fades, who will take their place on the dance floor?

Be sure to check out the excellent audio slideshow that accompanies the article. It includes photos from a polka dance at the Starlite Ballroom in Wahoo, as well as brief interviews with local Nebraska polka fans and musicians.

How to Build a Hohner Corona

Hohner Corona AssemblyOver on the Reyes Accordions forum, I found some excellent photos taken by Peter Unbehauen during a recent trip to the Hohner accordion factory in Trossingen, Germany. (Some readers may remember his photo tour of the Hohner factory from last year.) Among his latest photos are shots of the building and assembly of Hohner Corona accordions. It’s fascinating to see that the process is still done almost completely by hand — from molding the celluloid to assembling the reed blocks to the final tuning.

Peter has also scanned the entire Hohner spare parts catalog. While you can only get instruments from a dealer, you can order nearly any spare/replacement part imaginable directly from the Hohner factory in Germany. So next time you need a pair of accordion bellow nail pliers, you know where to go.

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