10 August 2020

Many happy returns!

A belated 'Many happy returns!' and congratulations to Alec Somerville, now of Co. Donegal, who had his ninetieth birthday earlier this year and looks game for another ninety. Alec's distinguished careers in music and the day job are outlined in the amply illustrated four-page interview with him by William Duddy in issue no. 97 (spring 2019) of the FOAOTMAD magazine Old Time News. It's enough to say that in his time he has probably sold more records, owned more banjos, and known more US pickers than anyone else on the old-time scene here.

The photo above, taken this month, shows Alec in a home-made tee shirt; the image depicts him with Edwin 'Ed' Haggard, musician and banjo collector of Winchester, Kentucky. Alec describes him as 'One of my oldest friends in the mountains. We traded a bit and talked a lot. I eventually sold him, for a client, my Orpheum no. 2, a banjo by Rettburg & Lange (later made Paramount) with a 12 1/8" pot, an archtop, and a 28" scale. Ed [...] was a standout.'

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