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The Ted Oakley Interview

In October 2002, Nick visited Ted at his home and with Ted's permission recorded an informal interview where he reminisced about his father. With Ted's permission we are publishing this in 4/5 minute extracts in mp3 format. 

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

May 2004

According to a pencil inscription in the scrapbook this article is from the "Banjo World" of May 1897. Its subject is presumably the same concert reviewed in "The Pink ’Un" (see  April 04 below). Once again Oakley is likened to Alfred D. Cammeyer.

Banjo Concert at Steinway Hall

April 2004

This article from "The Pink ’Un" mentions Oakley alongside the Americans Mays and Hunter. Interestingly, Oakley is said to "reproduce in every detail" the style of his teacher Alfred Cammeyer. Certainly the style Oakley was later to develop differed in many respects from Cammeyer’s.

W. C. Pepper’s First Banjo Concert

February 2004

This short cutting from the Handsworth Herald has a date written in faded ink above it. The month is February but the year could be either 1895 or 1899.

Olly’s Excuse

January 2004

This month we reproduce a poster for a dinner at the Savage Club along with a letter from the chairman of the club requesting Oakley’s services for the evening.

Savage Club House Dinner

December 2003

Olly Oakley’s picture visiting card

November 2003

Front cover of the ‘Talking Machine News & Journal of Amusements’ June 1921

October 2003

Two articles from the "Handsworth Herald", Feb. 22nd, 1896

St. Michael's Day Schools

Kings Heath Institute

Here are two reviews appearing in the same newspaper of concerts given on successive days by the Warwickshire Amateur Pierrot Orchestra of which Oakley was musical director. The concerts were reported as taking place on a "Tuesday" and a "Wednesday" so we may assume their dates to be the February 18th and 19th respectively. No great calculation is required to work out that this newspaper appeared on a Saturday – we have the Handsworth poster (reproduced in our August 2003 scrapbook issue) advertising Oakley’s solo recital the following Wednesday 26th February to work from. The programmes of the two concerts reported here were more or less the same, the most noticeable difference being that the conclusion of the Tuesday concert consisted of a "comedietta". One fact we may establish from these articles is that Oakley had by this time changed to the zither-banjo. Articles in the scrapbook from 1894 and 1895 (including those we reproduced in June 2003) mention only "banjo", although this does not, of course, rule out "zither-banjo". Certainly Oakley was associated with Cammeyer as early as 1894 and was already playing Cammeyer compositions in that year.

September 2003

A note from Clifford Essex to Oakley

Here’s another letter by a leading light in the English banjo world, Clifford Essex. From its location in the scrapbook as well as its content it is quite possible that the planned concert referred to is the same one that Cammeyer wrote to Oakley about (see Ted Oakley’s Scrapbook - July 2003). Oakley was still living in the Birmingham area at this time, hence the offer of accommodation by Essex. The Essex and Cammeyer concerts were, of course, held in London.

August 2003: 

Handsworth Postmen's Concert

For this month we've chosen an announcement from 1896 for a concert in Handsworth in Birmingham

July 2003: 

A note from Cammeyer to Oakley

Here we present a short note from Cammeyer to Oakley. Judging from its position in the scrapbook the year is most likely 1895 or 1896. In any case it was certainly written before the Essex and Cammeyer partnership split up in 1901.

June 2003: Reviews from 1894/1895

Handsworth Times, "A Successful Concert"

Banjo World, July 1894 "WHAT THE ‘STAR’ WRITES"

Sport & Play, January 23rd 1895.

According to Sport & Play, Oakley was only 17 in January 1895. This is again in conflict with his birth certificate reproduced in these pages. Perhaps Oakley actually believed his DOB to be November 26th, 1877 as his biographer A.P. Sharpe was later to claim. Is it even possible that his birth certificate was written incorrectly? It would be well to keep an open mind on this matter.

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