R.I.P. Ruth Askew died on 24.09.09.

A Maid and her Music.

112 pages 120 photographs is now
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In "A MAID AND HER MUSIC" I tell Ruth's story, based on interviews and photographs from her family album and shared musical experiences over a thirty year friendship.

There's a brief history of the melodeon plus profiles of her collection with unique photographs and descriptions of the instruments (and some of the people who originally played them) in Ruth's own words.

A Maid and her Music - Ruth Askew

Ruth Askew, late of Swanmore, had played the melodeon since her early childhood back in Chagford, on the edge of Dartmoor, Devon.

She had played with Bob Cann, Oscar Woods and many other traditional players but was best known for her unlikely musical partnership with George Privett of Shedfield. They played together for over thirty years. George also played melodeon and sang a little but he was best known for his very exuburant spoons playing.

Ruth Askew and George Privett 1980.
Ruth playing for George's spoons. c.1980.

Ruth became a regular 'Saturday Night' musician at Sam's Hotel, Shedfield where George, along with Jimmy Ralph and Jack Rideout and others, made the entertainment to the delight of the regulars.
Popular songs of the day were mixed with older tunes and local songs from the tradition and the Gypsy community.

I first met up with them in the early 1970s and kept up a friendship, both musical and personal, since then.

Ruth also played in Pewsey's Kings Korner Carnival Band and barn dance bands,including the Black Glove Band, for folk dances.

Since acquiring her first melodeon at the age of five Ruth had, through playing and meeting people, gathered a collection of over 120 different instruments. These range from Flutinas and Concertinas to, of course, Melodeons. She took this collection around the steam fairs and country shows throughout the year where her playing was always much appreciated. Ruth has also appeared on local television and radio and in several newspaper articles.

Some of Ruth Askew's collection of squeezeboxes.
Just some of Ruth's collection of instruments that she displayed and played around the shows.

Sadly Ruth Askew died on 24th September, 2009, two months short of her 80th birthday.
She had been unwell for some time.

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