The Omnipresent Vardon & Perry

I can’t keep up with those boys – the historical harp guitar duo that no one remembers that keeps cropping up!  For those new to our story (and it is a story), you’ll want to start at the beginning with “’Wilber’ Wanted” and then “Vardon, Perry & Wilber Revisited.”

So I was going through my vast Knutsen “To Do” list the other day, and found this image amongst the many finds of my Cadenza/Crescendo research project (much left to disseminate there, I can tell you).  I think this is the only other photo besides the fabled Payne Orchestra image that shows Knutsen instruments in the entire run of these periodicals.

The “Casey Trio” was new to me, though the “leg up” pose tugged at some memories at the time.  Well, I didn’t pay enough attention, nor did I remember it when I did the first Vardon & Perry piece (instigated by Perry’s great-granddaughter).

Obviously, these are our boys – Perry in the middle and Vardon at the rear.  So is “Casey” then the leader in front?  And if he’s the boss, how come he’s copying their famous pose?   There is no caption or text anywhere in the issue that describes the group (there is almost always something) – only the location of New York City.  This appeared in the January, 1918 issue of the Cadenza, which seems odd, as the boys were still smack in the middle of their V&P vaudeville heyday.  Perhaps they were just constantly gigging with any lineup that got a booking?

Also odd is that they’re not playing their trademark Gibsons.  As you recall, they apparently had a spare Knutsen that they’d hand off to the “Wilber” for the gig.  I can’t tell if this is the same instrument – the image is just too grainy.  “This” being the one Vardon is holding at left (in place of his 6-bass custom Gibson).  The other Knutsen might be from their collection, or owned by the mysterious “Casey.”  It may also be a new one for the Archives; it seems to be a transitional headstock from the last Tacoma “Evolving Symphony” styles to the later Seattle headstocks – again, too hard to tell.

Where might we find our boys next?  No idea, I just hope we see them again – I’m really growing fond of them!

  1. Kirsten Says:

    Great follow up! And very interesting about the new name for the group. Keep up the good work!

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