Accordions Go Crazy – Overboard (1988)

LPFrontCover1Accordions Go Crazy was a six piece band formed in 1985 by the accordionist, pianist and performance artist Mike Adcock including Clive Bell, Dean Speedwell Brodrick, Nicola Hadley, Sylvia Hallet and Stuart Jones. The group featured the accordion as the lively, fresh and fun-loving instrument it was always meant to be. On occasion every member played an accordion, but usually the group presented two or three accordions complemented by combinations of bass guitar, drums, voices, violin, flute, piano, trumpet and trombone.

The music ranged from dance to folk to pop to experimental. As a dance band,
Accordions Go Crazy presented Cajun two-steps, French waltzes, Norwegian folk dances, rock’n’roIl and original material. For a Concert situation a wider range of pieces were available, maybe a Romanian birdsong scherzo compete with a forest full of larks, or an aching Roy Orbison baIIad. The band’s experimental side was much less predictable, venturing boldly into the uncharted territory of the avantgarde accordion.

They recorded three albums on the Trikont label: Overboard in 1988, Zombie Dancer in 1989 (with Nicola Hadley replaced by drummer Ann Day), and The art of paper folding in 1991, with Stuart Jones replaced by Ruth Bitelli on bass guitar. Gradually people got more involved in other projects, and Accordions Go Crazy last played on a short tour of Italy in 1991, with Dan Brown replacing Ruth on bass. (

Accordions Go Crazy01

An offshoot from the London Musicians’ Collective, Accordions Go Crazy, formed 1985, included musicians then playing with Kahondo Style, the English Gamelan Orchestra or British Summer Time Ends, as well as other British performance groups. They released 3 LPs on the German Trikont label between 1988 and 1991, this one being the first. Members Sylvia Hallett and Clive Bell also included one of the band’s compositions on their 1988 Golden Apples compilation, posted here.

All members (Mike Adcock, Clive Bell, Dean Speedwell Brodrick, Nicola Hadley, Sylvia Hallett and Stuart Jones) play accordion alternatively, in addition to various instruments. Overboard is a joyous celebration of the accordion’s ebulient potentialities through evocative, festive and multi-colored dancing numbers sourced from Cajun, Bulgarian, Romanian and Klezmer traditions. In line with the accordion’s generosity and profuse output, the arrangements favor musicians’ virtuosity and interplay, a trait further enhanced by live-in-the-studio recording conditions. Of course, the title of the band doesn’t imply the instruments are crazy but rather that the accordions will drive you crazy. You’ve been warned. (

What a great and funny album !


Mike Adcock (accordion, piano, vocals)
Clive Bell (accordion, flute, khene, vocals)
Dean Brodrick (accordion, percussion, bassoon, vocals)
Nicola Hadley (accordion, percussion, vocals)
Sylvia Hallett (accordion, violin, trombone, vocals)
Stuart Jones (accordion, bass, trumpet)

Mike Adcock

01. Symphony For Massed Bands No. 1 (Hallett) 4.02
02. Cotswold Twostep (Adcock) 2.48
03. Tango René (Adcock) 2.20
04. Halinka’s Fall (Brodrick) 4.06
05. Violin Solo “The Red Shred” / Imalamayka (Hallett/Traditional) 4.31
06. See My Baby Jive (Wood) 4.33
07. The Falcon Waltz (Adcock) 3.24
08. Ciocirlia “The Lark” (Traditional) 3.11
09. Lebedik un Freilach (Traditional) 2.18
10. Colinda (Traditional) 3.05
11. The Delta (Adcock) 2.18
12. Sea Cruise (Smith) 2.25
13. Diamond Tongued (Bell) 1.34
14. The Third Coming (Adcock) 5.16