The Albert Delroy Sextet
Albert DelroyThe accordion is an instrument that you either love or hate and possibly the animosity felt towards it by some people can be attributed to the fact that these days there are few opportunities to hear the instrument played properly. In the hands of an expert performer, a good quality accordion is one of the most versatlile and expressive of instruments, whether played solo, in an orchestra or in an accordion band or orchestra. There are accordion clubs around the country, many of which have their own accordion bands.

Accordions and accordion ensembles were a popular feature of radio for best part of half a century and one accordionist who was very active in broadcasting was Albert Delroy. His acquaintance with the instrument began when he persuaded his father to buy him an an accordion for his twelfth birthday. He studied both chromatic (button-key) and piano-accordion. He also studied the pianoforte and became adept playing the bandoneon (a member of the accordion family). After becoming professional in 1931, he played at several London entertainment clubs, performing with various ensembles, sometimes appearing in films. He joined Troise and his Banjoliers (and Mandoliers) in the thirties and was destined to play for this band until Troise's death in 1957. In common with many other musicians, his career was put on hold when war broke out and he served in the Royal Air Force for six years.

After the war, Albert Delroy played with many broadcasting combinations such as The Gerald Crossman Players, Primo Scala's Accordion Band, Jacques Vallez and his Septet and Ronnie Munro and his Sextet. I recall asking him whether he ever played in George Scott-Wood's Accordion Band and he told me that as he was a close personal friend of Scott-Wood, it would not have been appropriate.

He formed the Albert Delroy Trio in 1950 with a view to introducing authentic Continental music to this country; he was considered to be an authority on French Musette Style and its exponents. He also broadcast leading a quartet and, by the mid-fifties, The Albert Delroy Sextet was being regularly heard in its own programmes as well as daily shows such as 'Music While You Work' and 'Morning Music'. The instrumentation of the sextet was : Accordion (Albert Delroy), clarinet, piano (doubling celeste), guitar, bass and drums. Albert was often featured on musette accordion which is specially tuned to give that typically French wavering sound.

Albert Delroy was highly thought of in the accordion world and represented the British Accordionist Association at International Accordionist Meetings on the Continent. He was a member of the American Accordionist Association and Committee member of the Confederation Mondiale de L'accordeon. He had the distinction of having been awarded Croix de Chevalier on two occasions for services to the accordion world. Having won accordion championships, he became a respected adjudicator at such championships. As an acknowledged expert on the various types of accordion systems, he regularly wrote for the Accordion Times and other publications.

The Albert Delroy Sextet played a broad range of British and Continental light music and each of their programmes would contain one of Albert's many light compositions. Perhaps his best known were: 'Breeze de Paris', 'Latin Serenade' and 'Donkey Ride' - all of which were also played by the many broadcasting combinations of the day.

By the mid sixties the BBC were abandoning light music in favour of pop and many light music combinations were dropped from broadcasting. The Albert Delroy Sextet was heard for the last time in 'Music While You Work' in June 1967. In retirement, Albert kept busy for the rest of his life tuning accordions for musicians but still continued to play when the opportunities arose. In 1992 he was appointed President of the British College of Accordionists.

Albert Delroy died in 1996.

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Listen to 'Music While You Work'
played by The Albert Delroy Sextet
as broadcast at 10.30 a.m. on 19th September 1964

MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK at 10.31 a.m. on 19th September 1964
played by The Albert Delroy Sextet

Calling All Workers (Sig)
A la Francais
Merry Go Round
Ukelele Boy
Bar Americano
Playtime for Poodles
Autumn Leaves
Jangle Bells
Brise De Paris
September in the Rain
. Bella Musica
. Clopin Clopant
. Valse Gris
. Little Shoemaker
Calling All Workers (
Eric Coates
Van Parys

Eric Coates

MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK at 3.31 p.m. on 15th June 1966
played by The Albert Delroy Sextet

Calling All Workers (Sig)
Viva Villa
Windows of Paris
Autumn Leaves
La Seine
C'est si Bon
If I Ruled the World
Reviera Nights
Say Si Si
Lady of Madrid
Sweden in Springtime
Tulip Chimes
Latin Serenade
Jangle Bells
Springtime Romance
Parakeets of Paraguay
Can-Can Selection:
. Montmartre
. I love Paris
. C'est Magnifique
. Can-Can
Calling All Workers (
Eric Coates
Jack Leon
Tony Osborne
Cyril Ornadel
Ernesto Lecuona
Tolchard Evans
Cecil Norman
Albert Delroy
Kenneth Baynes
Cedric Dumont
Cole Porter

Eric Coates

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Text by Brian Reynolds : e-mail